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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ask Bobby #12
September 25, 2023

Rotting Food Left in Wheatley Cafeteria


A large case of eggs, packages of bacon and sausage, some of them opened, and a large cake with a dairy-based topping. Not the kind of things you want to leave lying around at room temperature for prolonged periods of time.

Unfortunately, during the transfer of staff, equipment, and supplies from the old Wheatley cafeteria, run by Sodexho, into the new, state-of-the-art dining facility in the Campus Center, these items were left in a shutdown refrigerator. Additionally, a number of cooking stations, including grease traps in deep fryers, were not emptied, leaving a lot of old, grease-soaked food particles, including french fries and chicken.

One source, on condition of anonymity, also described one smaller refrigerator unit in the kitchen containing “what was once a piece of chicken, covered in yellow and green mold. And also a pan underneath [the unit] that had some pretty disgusting liquids inside.”

Naturally, this created an awful smell and attracted a large number of fruit flies. But it also represents a major health code violation. Donna Neal, associate director of Student Life, called Michael Forcier, general manager of Sodexho operations at UMB, soon after the mess was discovered. The call prompted Forcier to order the removal of the eggs and pork products from the main refrigerator. However, the cleaning of the facility was not yet complete at press time.

When contacted, Forcier mentioned that the cleanup work was “close to being done,” but could not specify a time when it would be fully completed.

According to Forcier, staff had to concentrate all their energy into moving into the new cafeteria. The scramble to fully transfer all staff, supplies, and equipment to the new facility in time for its scheduled opening forced Sodexho to push back the cleaning until after the Campus Center cafeteria was operating. This claim has been corroborated by Wit’s End staff.

Matters were complicated when the power to the coolant system used by the refrigerators in the Wheatley kitchen were shut off shortly after staff vacated. While it is not clear who is responsible for the shutoff, Forcier referred to the refrigerator shutdown as “unforeseen and unfortunate” since it led to the spoilage of all the aforementioned food products contained within.

In conversations with Wit’s End Staff, Forcier expressed regret that he took for granted that his staff would have the opportunity to clean and sanitize the Wheatley dining area with no problems after the move was made, and that his oversight led to such a mess. Parties involved were reluctant to point fingers for the mess, and all those involved intend to finish the sanitization of the area as soon as possible. For now, the area remains under quarantine.