Cafeterias Pass City’s Test
Since introducing a new grading system for health inspection last July, the New York City Health Department has discovered that numerous campus cafeterias in the city violate health codes. To date, the city has evaluated three of The New School’s four cafeterias; all received “A” grades, while the Lang Café remains unrated. Despite these excellent evaluations, however, some New School students consider the cafeterias to be lacking in quality food and hygiene.
On April 19, The New York Times reported that the cafeteria food on many college campuses — including Fordham, Pace and NYU — is not only unsatisfactory but also violates health codes. At Fordham, violations included live cockroaches, a dead grasshopper in a student’s salad bowl, and unsanitary food preparation services.
After The New School’s city-mandated health inspection last November, both Café 55 and the Library Cafe received “A” grades. Deilelany Bonitacio, a cashier at the Library Café, said since January — when she began to work for The New School — she and her co-worker have spent most of their time at work cleaning.
“It’s a lot,” she said. “We clean the latte machine every time we use it, we replace the sushi every four hours, we replace the ice tea, make fresh coffee. There is so much.”
In July 2010, the New York City Health Department instituted a requirement that obligates restaurants to publicly post their grades — A, B or C — that summarize the results of their sanitary inspections. Still, the Health Department is slightly behind schedule on its plan to grade all of the city’s 24,000 restaurants by the fall of 2011.
The Lang Café in the 12th Street building has not yet received a letter grade under the city’s new grading system, although it does hold a passing grade from the old inspection system. The “A” listed on the Health Department’s website for The New School does not, therefore, represent the entire university.
At Pace, the city’s shut-down of the main cafeteria prompted students to boycott food services and demand that the university find a new food provider. While the level of dissatisfaction of students at The New School pales in comparison to those at Pace, complaints about the quality of the food, especially in the 13th Street dormitory, are not uncommon. The dining area there received an “A” on April 28, despite student grievances.
Isaac Oceas, a freshman at Lang and a resident at the 13th Street dorm, said that inedible food is a regular occurrence at the 13th Street dorm.
“You can usually tell what is bad [in the dining hall at the 13 St. dorm] when you can’t cut it with a plastic knife,” Oceas said.
Lang freshman and 13th Street resident Safiye Senturk was also far from content with The New School’s food plan. “I pay $ 3,000 a year for a food plan [that serves food that is] inedible and gives me stomach aches,” she said.