‘Major’ health violations discovered at Sacramento State residential dining facility

Students beneath a canopy of fall foliage on the campus of Sac State in Sacramento on Wednesday, November 18, 2015.
Students beneath a canopy of fall foliage on the campus of Sac State in Sacramento on Wednesday, November 18, 2015. rbenton@sacbee.com

The residential dining facility at Sacramento State was found in violation of several health codes that posed “an immediate threat to public health” last month, according to Sacramento County health inspection reports.

The Servery, part of Sacramento State’s Dining Commons, violated 14 codes, three of them constituting “major violations,” which “have the potential to cause foodborne illness,” according to the inspection report.

The finding of more than one major violation necessitates immediate correction and an additional inspection within 24 to 72 hours, according to the county Environmental Management Department, which oversees health inspections.

Failure to immediately correct major violations may result in the facility’s closure.

Sacramento State students are required to purchase a meal plan for the Dining Commons to live in residence halls, with plan prices ranging from $1,632 to $2,382 per semester, according to the university’s website. The Servery and Dining Commons are operated by Sacramento State's nonprofit auxiliary University Enterprises Inc.

In a statement to The State Hornet, University Enterprises said that it was “disappointed that three major violations ... were identified by the County of Sacramento Environmental Management Department on February 16.”

“Food safety is one of our highest priorities and we continuously train our staff on proper food handling procedures. UEI will reevaluate its procedures and take steps to ensure these violations do not reoccur,” the statement said.

The three major violations were for improper temperature levels of food, inadequate sanitation of food contact surfaces and equipment, and the lack of any method for tracking how long food had been sitting out at buffet stations.

In the report, the inspector noted that turkey patties and mozzarella sticks were found to be in the “temperature danger zone” — a range of temperatures in which “disease-causing bacteria” is able to “rapidly multiply,” according to informational guides from the Environmental Management Department.

In addition, dairy products at a self-service station were found to be above the required temperature of less than 41 degrees.

Several food items were deemed unfit for human consumption during the inspection and were disposed of.

The February violations come two months after The Servery was cited for many similar violations during a December inspection. The December report showed the restaurant in violation of seven codes, with one major violation listed for improper cooling of food.

The facility passed its Feb. 20 re-inspection, but was again found in violation of a code regarding cleanliness standards for non-food surfaces due to a buildup of grease and old food on the restaurant’s grills, stoves and deep fryers. The restaurant was instructed to clean it within 24 hours, but the violation was not severe enough to warrant an additional re-inspection.

Restaurants in Sacramento County are inspected routinely three times per year, and are typically not made aware of when the inspections will take place.

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