E. Coli. Salmonella. Botulism. The diseases that lurk in our kitchens can cause severe illness. But what about the kitchens in our favorite restaurants? Are the proper health measures being taken there?
There are a number of food establishments that most students frequent on a regular basis in Fairfield. Three on campus locations are Barone, the Stag, and Jazzman’s. Popular off-campus spots are Chef’s Table, Firehouse Deli, Circle Diner, and Dominos.
“You don’t really think about what’s going on behind the scenes when you walk into a restaurant. But then you here those horror stories on the news and it makes you think, could that be happening where I eat?” said Siobhan Miller ‘14.
According to the Health Department, Fairfield restaurants tend to be up to par and are doing a very good job at staying in regulation. The Health Department offers qualified food operator training, and Fairfield requires all qualified food operators be re-certified after three years instead of the training expiration of 5 years.
In Fairfield, a rigorous health inspection program is set in place. All restaurants are ranked on a 1-4 level and are evaluated accordingly. For example, a level 4 establishment is inspected quarterly, a level 3 tri-annually, and so forth.
Scoring for inspections is conducted on a 100-point scale, with violation ranked on a 1-4 demerit scale with 4 being the worst. A single 4 demerit or a total score below 80 is an automatic fail. If a restaurant does fail, they have two weeks to fix all offenses. The health department re-evaluates at the end of the two week period.
On campus establishments are in top shape. Jazzman’s and the Stag, both level 3 establishments, scored a respective 91 and 93. Barone, a level 4 establishment, scored a 91. Of the three, none of these on-campus dining establishments received a demerit over 2. Aside from the state mandate, Sodexo also performs regular unannounced inspections.
General Manager Bryan Davis explained, “They do a very in-depth inspection in two categories: physical and food, meaning that everything is checked from thermometer calibration to proper attire of the staff. That’s how we keep our standards so high.”
According to the records, students are safe off-campus as well. The four student hotspots, Chef’s Table, Firehouse Deli, Domino’s, and Circle Diner, all stayed well within the acceptable 80 and above range and pose no threat to our health.