Georgetown University’s food service establishments were cited for several health code violations last semester, a series of D.C. Department of Health inspection reports shows.
The reports detail violations ranging from mold in Darnall soda dispensers to a lack of certified food supervisors in three establishments operated by The Corp.
During inspections throughout the university on Sept. 21, inspectors visited every on-campus food service establishment, including both dining halls, Vital Vittles, Midnight Mug and Uncommon Grounds.
Many of the violations discovered were minor but Ronny Taylor, a health inspector for the D.C. Department of Health called some violations “serious” or “very serious” during a phone interview Monday. No university food service establishments were ever in danger of being closed, he said.
University officials and a representative of The Corp insisted last week that the majority of the violations have been corrected.
In one inspection report, Darnall Dining Hall was cited for having excessive dirt, mold and sugar buildup in soda dispenser nozzles. Inspectors also found that the height of sneeze guards was improper.
At the Leo O’Donovan Dining Hall inspectors discovered a fruit fly infestation and required university officials to “provide effective extermination.” The dining hall also had dirty racks inside a walk-in refrigerator and an inappropriate drainage of fluids in front of the refrigerators, inspectors wrote.
According to Michael Basile, Georgetown’s Director of Food and Beverages, university dining facilities are safe.
Basile is an employee of Marriott, the company which operates Georgetown’s dining facilities.
“Marriott is a leader in terms of food safety. In the last year we’ve had no food-borne illnesses,” he said. “The problems which were found have definitely been corrected but there is so much kitchen space that inspectors will always find something.”
Margie Bryant, associate vice president for auxiliary services, said that inspectors “will never give you a 100 percent rating when they come in.”
But Taylor said that he considered the fruit fly infestation to be a “very serious” violation.
“Flies are vectors for contamination and transmission of disease,” he said.
The problems found by inspectors extended to Corp-operated establishments. At Vital Vittles, one inspector discovered dirty shelves and could not find one employee with a certified food supervisor card as required by law, a report said.
Certified food supervisors take a one week course in proper food preparation and supervise employees involved in preparing food.
Another report cited Uncommon Grounds for having no employee hair restraints and unclean shelves. The inspector also was unable to find an employee with a food supervisor card.
A third report said that shelves at Midnight Mug were dirty. Employees there also had no food supervisor card.
According to Taylor, if the establishments do not have food supervisors by the next inspection, they could be shut down.
Keith McNamara (MSB ’06), The Corp’s outgoing chief operating officer, called the methods inspectors use “bizarre” and said the problems found have been fixed.
“The health inspectors come in the stores for about two minutes, they do a loop of the store, then leave,” he said. “If our stores were dirty, customers would be the first to tell us. The things they found aren’t issues anymore.”
McNamara said that there are now certified food supervisors in each of The Corp’s establishments.
“There is nothing for us to hide and `Corpies’ actually consume more Corp stuff than anyone else,” he said. “We never want anyone to get sick. If we were to do particularly badly on something we would say that this is wrong and we need to do something differently.”
– HOYA Staff Writer Kerry McIntosh contributed to this report