Brittain Dining Hall received an unsatisfactory score of 65 points out of 100 points during a health inspection of its facilities on March 9. Among the violations cited by the inspector were the failure of staff to wash hands between duties, failure to store foods at the correct temperature, failure to store utensils properly and several facilities violations.
“For a school with such high standards for learning, there should also be high standards for food. There really are no excuses for it. Brittain is just like any other restaurant… if it doesn’t pass basic health standards, we shouldn’t be eating there,” said Jenna Dundore, a first-year STAC major.
“I was appalled when I heard about the rating. This is the only food I eat, and if it’s not maintained properly, there needs to be reform,” said Alex Fried, a first-year MGT major.
The dining hall was subsequently inspected on March 28, during which it scored 89 points out of 100 points. Among the repeated violations noted during this inspection were storage of utensils inside a container of standing water and the failure to seal all gaps in the ceiling tiles.
According to Dining, the score was a result of a variety of factors, including the fact that standards had changed since its previous inspection (which occurred in Dec. 2009) and the fact that a new inspector had been assigned to conduct the evaluation.
“We’ve had the same health inspector for about three years now. Each health inspector gives you guidance based on how they see each facility,” said Lisa McClain, the human resources manager for Sodexo. “The one good thing to come out of this is that we’ve had to learn to be prepared no matter who comes to inspect our facility.”
Dori Martin, the district marketing manager for Sodexo, also said that the failing score does not necessarily reflect the quality or safety of the food served at the facility.
“Failing an inspection does not mean what people usually think….they would shut you down if you weren’t preparing food in a safe manner. This does not mean that we are serving unsafe food or that people should not feel safe at our facilities, those are not the things that were on our health inspection and not to mention we’ve been re-inspected,” Martin said.
The initial inspection was sparked by a complaint to the Department of Community Health. Since then, Dining has held a number of training sessions to ensure the proper observation of hygiene and best practices in the kitchen, according to Martin.
Martin said that another reason that may have led to the poor score during the initial inspection could be the use of the Dining Hall to serve such a large number of meals per day. Brittain currently serves over 22,000 meals each day, while the facility is built to serve only 10,000.
Martin also said that the construction of the North Avenue Dining Hall could potentially reduce the number of patrons at the facility, making it easier to maintain day-to-day operations. Brittain Dining Hall will also undergo a $1 million renovation over the summer semester to upgrade its facilities and meet the health code.
“We humbly apologize to all Georgia Tech stakeholders for this situation and assure you that we are working diligently to make certain this will not happen in the future,” Martin said.