Sodexo recovers after three critical health violations

Sodexo employees work to preppare for the dinner rush. Photo by Max Bomber.

 After receiving three “critical” health violations in its November inspection, Sodexo received zero “criticals” in February. 

In November, Franklin College’s food service provider received 14 cited remarks from Johnson County Health Department inspector Bob Smith, including three violations that the health department labels “critical.” 

“A critical violation is more of a public health concern than a non-critical violation,” Smith said. 

The three “criticals” were a mechanical dish machine not being hot enough, and two refrigerators not being cold enough. 

Food Services Director Les Petroff said he and the food provider worked quickly to address these violations. 

“They were three ‘criticals,’ but it was nothing that made us have to shut down,” he said. “I understand the health department doing what they have to do.” 

One of Sodexo’s three critical violations in November was a mechanical dish machine not being hot enough. Sodexo switched to paper products until fixed. The Franklin file photo.

In the case of the mechanical dish machine, Petroff said a fuse went out in one of the temperature gages, leaving the temperature at 154 degrees rather than the minimum 160 degrees necessary for those machines. 

Smith said the machines must meet this 160-degree temperature to adequately disinfect or sanitize the dishware. 

After the inspection, Petroff said the cafeteria switched to paper products until the physical plant came and fixed the machine to properly clean the dishware. 

Sodexo runs and records temperature test strips on this machine daily, but Petroff said on the day of the November inspection, something must have occurred between the testing and the inspection that caused the machine to lose heat. 

One of the refrigerator violations was in Ben’s Den. The refrigerator in the back of the store that holds sandwiches, salads, drinks, cheese and other cold items was 44 degrees during the inspection—three degrees short of the minimum 41-degree requirement. 

“We immediately threw away perishable items like sandwiches and salads,” Petroff said. 

He said the screen that covers that refrigerator doesn’t always close properly, leaving the refrigerator open. 

The other refrigerator that was not cold enough was at the pizza preparation station inside the dining hall. 

When Smith came back in February for the next routine inspection, there were only six minor violations, including worn floors in the kitchen, debris on the ground behind the dumpster and unclean cabinets. None of the violations were critical. 

“The most recent report seemed like it had a better report,” Smith said. “I saw evidence that most items had been corrected.” 

The reports the health department completes on all Johnson County retail food providers are viewable to the public online at the department’s website. 

Petroff said Sodexo values the importance of these inspections, which happen four times a year at unexpected times. 

“We do take sanitation and cleanliness very serious,” he said. “That’s why you have a health department, and that’s why they come inspect because there’s obviously a lot of restaurants and eating establishments. It’s their job to make sure that the environment is safe.” 

Sodexo also does its own monthly food safety audits and promotes food service safety through many standards and policies, like a safety box and safety board. 

“Our major concern is feeding the students,” Petroff said. “But we want to make sure everything and everybody is safe.” 

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About Leigh Durphey 33 Articles
Leigh Durphey is the copy chief for The Franklin. She is an English and secondary education major with a multimedia journalism minor. She’s committed to various English-related activities on campus, including the role of president of the English honorary society Sigma Tau Delta. In her free time, Leigh enjoys reading, crafting and spending time with her dog, Bear. This is Leigh’s fourth year in a leadership role on staff. She previously held the executive editor position.

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