U.S. salmonella scare brings menu changes
Posted Feb. 13, 2009
Angie Marcos
Staff Writer

Staff at the University of La Verne’s Davenport Dining Hall assure patrons that they are taking all precautions to guarantee their food products are safe despite the recent incidents of salmonella poisoning across the United States.

Concerns about salmonella, a bacteria most commonly found in meat, seafood and eggs ­– and recently a concern in peanut products – has somewhat changed the offerings at Davenport.

When the ULV campus first became aware of possibly tainted products, mainly peanut based products were removed from the menu said General Manager Justin McGruder.

Cintya Lopez, a freshman international business major, said concerns about the deadly bacteria have affected her eating habits.

“I don’t feel safe eating peanut butter,” she said.

She added that she used to eat peanut butter products at Davenport.

Once the peanut butter being served was declared as non-contaminated, McGruder said, Davenport once again began to offer it to the approximately 750 people it provides food for each day.

Laticia Lerma, a junior criminology major, said the scare has not had any affect on her eating habits.

“I don’t really eat peanut butter that much,” she said, adding that when tomatoes were a cause for concern last summer, “I still ate tomatoes.”

“It happens every few years,” said Michael Gove, executive chef at Davenport.

To avoid food contamination on campus, there are regular meetings between ULV officials, contributors and purchasers.

According to both McGruder and Gove, they receive daily reports as to what products are considered safe to consume.

“I have all of these recipes on file,” Gove said.

“If it’s a new item I will actually rename it,” Gove said.

This is done to alert consumers that it is a new dish with new ingredients, so as to avoid any confusion.

Gove said to know what ingredients are of concern to you personally before consuming them; know what your allergies are.

“Time and temperature are the two big keys,” McGruder said about avoiding the spread of salmonella.

Instead of just reaching for the product, he recommends seeking out store managers asking questions and exercising rights everyone has as a consumer.

What it comes down to, he said, is knowing if a company is reputable or not.

Leaving food in the car while running errands and waiting more than the appropriate time to store food is also a big concern if meat, poultry, and seafood are involved.

The illness from salmonella usually shows its first symptoms within eight to 72 hours from when the food product was initially ingested and it is unable to be seen, tasted, or smelled in food.

Some precautions to take include washing hands, utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops that have been exposed to any type of raw meat, poultry or seafood.

Refrigerating food at its proper temperature and refrigerating leftover foods within two hours is important.

Not overcrowding a refrigerator can also help in avoiding salmonella.

Angie Marcos can be reached at angie.marcos@laverne.edu.

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