Crooker Cafeteria piles on health violations

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The Subway on campus violated health code on a recent inspection. Image Credit: Alyssa Foley

By Alyssa Foley

On a recent city health inspection, Crooker cafeteria was found to have seven health code violations while the campus Subway received two violations. The City of Houston Health Department sanitarians conducted routine, unannounced inspections on Feb. 7.

City health inspectors walked into Cooker Cafe and found dirty kitchen floors. Food service items that were not stored high enough off the floor and in a closed container to prevent contamination, which is a repeat violation from November. Single service food items were being used more than once. Besides the kitchen floors, non-food contact surface areas of equipment were also dirty. Crooker employees also failed to properly label stored food. The cafeteria was operating without the person in charge having the Food Service Manager’s Certification required by the city, another repeat violation from November’s inspection.

Next door at the campus Subway, potentially hazardous foods were not reheated within two hours. The Subway was also operating without the person in charge having a Food Service Manager’s Certification.

Read Crooker’s Feb. 7 health inspections here and here, and the Subway inspection here. The University of St. Thomas contracts campus dining services to Aramark.

Frequent re-inspections signal issues.

All food establishments in the city are inspected by the Houston Health Department at least once per year. UST’s campus dining service was inspected on Nov. 8, May 20 and May 11. UST Underground covered these previous inspections here.

Christopher Sparks, the chief sanitarian over retail food inspections at the Houston Health Department explained that there are two ways a food establishment would be re-inspected more than once per year. If a food establishment is given a high score on an inspection, it’s automatically scheduled for re-inspection sooner than one year.

The second way an eatery would be re-inspected sooner is if the Health Department received a complaint. Sparks explained that once a report is received, it is assigned to an area supervisor and given a priority ranking. Sanitation and sickness complaints are investigated within 24 to 48 hours.

Anyone can file a complaint with the City of Houston Health Department on a food vendor within city limits by calling 832-393-5100 or filling out the anonymous online form here.

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P.S.
No, I’m not currently enrolled at St. Thomas, I didn’t re-enroll for the spring. I’m back at Houston Community College for this semester and I’m busy completing college applications for this fall for universities with excellent journalism programs.

I realize UST Underground seems pretty lifeless, no one stepped to take it over this semester and I don’t blame any student for being hesitant to step up in the climate of censorship and fear at UST. I would be more than happy to turn over this site to a student who will continue updating it. I would like to extend a particular invitation to publish on UST Underground to any student working for the new Celt Press who can’t publish their story because it would embarrass the university. Real news will always be welcome here.
– Alyssa Foley

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