The University of Houston's food service contract is coming up for review later this semester. If ARAMARK, the current holder of the contact, wants it renewed, its employees and executives sure have a whole lot of explaining to do.
First, there was the Horizons Grilleworks grease fire last semester. ARAMARK attempted to blame the fire on UH's neglect of faulty wiring, and UH pointed the finger right back at ARAMARK, saying the neglect was on the part of those who allowed the grease to collect and ignite. The Houston Fire Department placed the blame firmly on both parties. An issue of safety was turned into a childish, finger-pointing, who-dunnit game of blame placing.
Then, there was the nasty incident in which Kim Son was found to be overcharging customers. ARAMARK will point out, legitimately, that Kim Son is merely a contractor, but the fact that this was allowed to happen, whether it was an honest mistake or a purposeful overcharging, is simply inexcusable.
Now, worst of all, the Horizons Cafeteria has been found to be a veritable pit of filth. Of 28 areas inspected, the kitchen passed only nine.
Meat was being stored at temperatures far warmer than it should have been. Hot foods were being served too cold. Do the managers have no concept of how to serve food properly?
And we cannot let slide the discovery of slime in the ice machine (Marvin Zyndler wouldn't be pleased), dirty cooking utensils, and a dishwasher that had been quarantined several times. After using the same broken-down dishwasher for years, the university is finally ordering a new one.
But perhaps the most atrocious of all the offenses is the fact that the hot water was turned off at hand-washing stations. Employees resorted to dipping their hands in filthy wiping cloth solution.
ARAMARK offered excuses, of course, but there is no excuse for this sort of thing. ARAMARK is being paid to serve food that meets a minimum standard, and they're not even meeting that standard.
Poorly prepared food causes disease, and that's not what the students, faculty and staff eating at Horizons are paying for (and paying a lot for).
The food service "professionals" of ARAMARK need to get their act together. The company should not even be allowed to submit a bid until minimal compliance is demonstrated.
The students of the University of Houston deserve no less.