Quinnipiac Dining responds to food complaints

By on October 16, 2018

Quinnipiac Dining removed the food products in question after two different social media posts were shared last week, when students allegedly found a snail, and what appears to be a small worm, in the fruit they purchased from Quinnipiac Dining.

Photo Contributed by Julianna Johnson
Chuck Couture, resident district manager for Quinnipiac Dining, responded to The Chronicle, writing:

“The health and safety of our guests are always our top priority. That’s why we immediately took action after we were made aware of two images that were posted to the @QUbarstool Instagram page. Although we cannot verify that the images are from our dining facilities, we pulled the products in question from service and launched an investigation with our third-party food safety specialists.”

Freshman journalism major Lily Keefe found what appears to be a small worm in a piece of watermelon she purchased from the cafe on Oct. 6 and sent the photo to friends who encouraged her to send it to Barstool Quinnipiac, a Barstool Sports affiliate, a satirical sports and pop culture blog.

Barstool Quinnipiac posted Keefe’s photo to it’s Instagram page on Oct. 6. Quinnipiac Dining (@qudining) commented on the Instagram post, “Quinnipiac Dining would like to address the post regarding the fruit. However we need more information. Would you please email quinnipiacdining@qu.edu so that we can get more details? Thanks.”

Quinnipiac Dining emailed Keefe after it commented on the post and refunded her account.

On Oct. 9, Barstool Quinnipiac posted a video of what appeared to be a snail on the side of a plastic berry container. The Chronicle does not know who submitted the video and has not confirmed whether or not the blackberries were purchased from Quinnipiac Dining.

Couture attached the responses he received from its produce vendor, Sardilli Produce and fruit distributor Driscoll’s, in an email with The Chronicle.

Director of Quality Operations for Driscoll’s, Michael Moore, responded to Quinnipiac Dining in regards to the small snail found inside a Driscoll’s berry package.

“We take implications of pests inside our packaging seriously, and appreciate you bringing this to our attention,” Moore said. “We have forwarded on the identifying data to the regional Quality and Production teams associated with the ranches identified, who are working with this grower and ranch crew to apply added attention to these incidents going forward.”

Driscoll’s provided a list of preventative measures it’s growers utilize to prevent insects from Driscoll’s fruit or packaging. These measures included pest management practices, monitoring fields to identify and control possible insect pest issues, pest control advisors who identify issues and recommend pesticide applications as needed, adhering to state, federal and local regulations on pesticide use; only packing fruit free from insects; and rejecting fruit with an insect or larvae.

Moore noted in his response that sometimes insects are hard to see and an occasional insect can possibly find its way into a package and go unnoticed.

Driscoll’s berries are grown in an outdoor environment, which is not completely free from insects. They encourage consumers to rinse berries with water prior to consumption.

Elizabeth Martinez, consumer relations manager for Driscoll’s, wrote to Sardilli Produce stating:

“Because berries are very perishable, we touch them only once during the harvest process. They are picked and placed into a plastic container, which is immediately shut when full. From there the berries are taken to our cooler facility, where they are kept in refrigeration until they are transferred onto refrigerated trucks and delivered to markets throughout the United States. To ensure the utmost quality and freshness, and longest shelf life, they are not touched again until opened by you for consumption. Because of this, occasionally a bug or worm may find its way into a package and go undetected until the berries are ready for use.”

Devin Sardilli of Sardilli Produce & Dairy Co. responded to Driscoll’s stating that, insects are a part of the produce business and that they try their best to make sure their products are insect free. They notified their management and processing team.

“What I have seen in the picture is a bug that looks to may have burrowed its way out of the watermelon over time which would have not been seen or noticed by someone processing it,” Sardilli said. “We process hundreds of pounds of watermelons per day and if there was an insect issue it would have been caught.”

Freshman journalism major Julianna Johnson purchased an orange from the Bobcat Den Wednesday Oct. 10, but when she peeled the orange open she found it was rotten inside.

Johnson did not contact Quinnipiac Dining or ask for a refund.

“Quinnipiac Dining has a 100% money back guarantee on all of our products,” Couture said. “If for any reason any guest is not satisfied with a meal or a product we offer and can bring proof of purchase, we will offer a credit and replace the item if necessary.”

In an informal survey conducted by The Quinnipiac Chronicle with 48 participants:

  • 34 responded ‘yes,’ they have purchased food from Quinnipiac Dining this semester and realized afterwards it was moldy or had gone bad.
  • 19 responded ‘yes’ and 29 responded ‘no’ to if they have ever found a bug in the food they purchased from Quinnipiac Dining this semester.
  • 28 responded saying they did not try to receive a refund for the food.

If you find an issue with your food from Quinnipiac Dining, Couture encourages you to immediately notify a manager or an associate. You can contact Quinnipiac Dining using text2solve: 203-229-9123 or email quinnipiacdining@qu.edu. 

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About Amanda Perelli

Managing Editor
Journalism Major
Class of 2019