Maintenance issues cause rodent problems in concessions

In Campus News, News
Mariah Carillo / Daily Titan
Mariah Carillo / Daily Titan

On-campus food is more than just the traditional brick-and-mortar shops that usually come to mind. Concession stands at sports games and food trucks parked on campus are also a prominent source for food between classes and during halftime.

This year, while concession stands have suffered from inadequate maintenance standards, food trucks on campus, which are regulated by the Orange County Health Department, have met the health and safety requirements.

Regularly stationed food trucks on campus, including BarcelonaOnTheGo and Spudrunners, are rarely supervised by the university because they are constantly moving throughout other locations in Orange County and have also succeedingly met the Health and Safety Code requirements under the Mobile Food Facilities (MFF).

Santiago Nocito, co-owner of BarcelonaOnTheGo, proudly shows off his passing sticker issued by the Orange County Health Department on the truck’s front window.

Nocito said his establishment’s affiliation with the university is minimal.

“They did come around the first semester we were here but it was brief inspection,” Nocito said.

BarcelonaOnTheGo and Spudrunners’ partnership has resulted in both trucks earning popularity and success among students on campus. The fresh, high-quality ingredients in their food, followed by passing sanitation regulations, keep Cal State Fullerton students coming back for more.

Unlike the concession facilities, BarcelonaOnTheGo has also kept up with its maintenance.

In contrast, concession stands, which are regulated by the university, struggle with issues.

“Orange County Health Department, they’re not so strict, they’ll give you time to fix things if something’s broken,” Nocito said.

The most recent inspection of the concession stands took place Oct. 27 this year. The venue located at Titan Stadium, which hosts soccer matches and has also hosted football games, received major violations, including presence of animal and rodent feces due to gaps in the window seals. This violation was a direct result of CSUF’s poor maintenance standards, according to the food facility inspection report.

“Whenever there is an event at the facility we go in, we clean it all up and then we bring all the

food in for whatever the event is,” said Frank Mumford, executive director of CSUF’s Auxiliary Services Corporation. “When the evening is over, or whenever the event is we take the stuff back out. We never leave food out there so we don’t attract any kind of vermin.”

Mumford addressed the issue of vermin and other pests getting inside the facility as an issue with the facility itself. Since the windows are not properly sealed at the bottom, rats can get inside. “It’s a university issue,” Mumford said. “We do the best we can with what we have right now.”

The university occasionally sprays the concessions to try to keep any rodents and cockroaches from coming in. An outside company also comes in once a month to spray the buildings for any gaps, but it has not worked so far. “It just doesn’t seal well enough, so they (vermin) can pretty easily get in,” Mumford said.

Aside from maintenance issues, the concessions also received minor violation concerning sanitation, food storage and water temperature. CSUF Environmental Health Officer and Food Inspector Justine Baldacci issued the Titan Stadium concession stand a “D” rating in October, noting several other minor violations concerning sanitation, food storage and water temperature.

Baldacci said minor violations do not pose an imminent health hazard, but do warrant correction.

Major violations, however, require correction much more quickly. “Other corrective action” may take place or the facility “warrants immediate closure,” she said.

In March, the softball concessions received a major violation for holding their hot dogs at a low 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Potentially hazardous foods held between 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 130 degrees Fahrenheit without any intervention are considered a major violation,” Baldacci said.

Mumford said the ultimate goal is to get permanent food facilities for sporting events.

“The softball stadium is even worse because it’s rusted in a lot of places,” Mumford said. “The facilities just really need some major renovations or to be replaced.”

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