Carson’s Catering, OCCC’s food service provider, passed its last health inspection with no citations, an improvement from previous inspections that has earned the company 20 citations in the last two years.
Of those citations, four types are considered critical, according to Department of Consumer Protection for Oklahoma City- County Health Department Field Supervisor Troy Skow.
Violations for “Hot Hold/Time Control,” “Cold Hold/Time Control,” “dishwasher – temp not hot enough to sanitize dishes,” and “no Food Service Operator Certificate” are the critical citations found in open records posted online and dated Oct. 26, 2010, through Sept. 20 of this year.
Other citations listed include food debris found on the floor, cutting knives with food debris, soiled wiping cloths on the prep table, single-use items stored on the floor, and condiments on self-serving area unprotected, among others.
Oklahoma City-County Health Department Inspector Sharon Chow said she discovered multiple cases of inadequate temperatures in the food in Carson’s kitchen the past two years.
Carson’s manager Corrine Aguilar said the reason for this is bad timing.
“We cook everything up to a certain temperature that it has to be at in the safety zone,” Aguilar said. “Then we put it into a holding box.
The holding box keeps it but then we take it out and put it into just our serving well and sometimes those temperatures don’t hold as well … and sometimes they[the Health Department] come right when we are changing over.”
Chow said when an establishment receives a citation, a follow-up inspection is performed within days.
“We give them time to correct the problem,” she said.
Chow said sometimes, citations may be due to faulty equipment. “If the equipment itself cannot keep the temperature right then that is a major concern for me.”
Aguilar said this was the case for some of the citations.
“We are contractors here so the school is responsible for getting everything fixed,” Aguilar said. “One of the refrigerators was not working properly so they are in the process of buying us a new refrigerator.”
The citation for inadequate temperature in the dishwasher water has been an issue for several inspections, Aguilar said.
“It’s an older dishwasher and it loses it’s temperature,” Aguilar said.
“Every time they come out, they tell us it’s not up to speed. We check it once a week but a lot of times for some reason it loses its temperature that it’s supposed to have. Because it’s older, we have to have the service people come out. It belongs to school property so they have to call out a service repair person to fix it.”
Financial Accounting Director Brenda Carpenter said OCCC has replaced several pieces of equipment. and repairs any faulty equipment “immediately.”
“Several pieces of equipment have recently been replaced which include a reach-in cooler in the sandwich prep area with a new refrigerated sandwich prep table and cooler … and a refrigerated bakery case … in the Coffee Shop,” Carpenter said in an email.
“Other current replacements include the reach-in coolers behind the hot food line/salad prep line which should be installed sometime within the next 60 days. The defective coolers are not being used at this time.”
Carpenter said the dishwasher issue also has been addressed.
“When we are aware of a problem, we call in the repair for service immediately. The dishwasher has been in operation approximately five years and is operating efficiently at this time.”
Chow said Carson’s has been compliant with correcting violations within days.
Chemistry major Kevin Hernandez said he isn’t completely comfortable with Carson’s.
“When I go to grab a salad or something I always see that when they’re mixing the salad they just take whatever they have and put it into a cup that’s already been used and when they’re ready to stir it they put it into a bowl that’s already been used.
“It just kind of grosses me out that they don’t try to be a little cleaner over there,” he said. “This is our only source of food here. … At the price that we’re paying they should be able to maintain a well-cleaned area.”
Aguilar said Carson’s makes an effort every day to maintain a safe, clean café. She said the café’s staff follows daily and weekly prep and sanitization lists.
“In the kitchen we try really hard not to cross-contaminate,” Aguilar said. “We have certain boards we use for raw food and for already cooked food. We sanitize all of our pans and our dishes. We wash everything thoroughly.”
Aguilar said no customer complaints have been reported to the café.
Environmental Safety major Jessica Murray said she said the citations aren’t anything to fret about.
“I know it may sound bad, but it doesn’t bother me,” Murray said. “I just think that students who are eating at the Burger King right down the street are probably exposed to way worse conditions but that doesn’t stop them from eating there.”
Carpenter said no one should have concerns.
“The management at OCCC and at Carson’s Catering and Food Concepts takes every violation, no matter how minor, seriously. Every issue identified by the Health Department is addressed immediately and any issues related to equipment are fixed as soon as feasibly possible. As far as OCCC or Carson’s is aware at no time have there been any violations that affected food quality or food safety.”
Chow said the Health Department performs health inspections four times a year. She said Carson’s is never aware of exactly when the inspections will take place.
Health inspection records can be found online at www.phin.state.ok.us/inspections. To find OCCC, select Oklahoma County in the drop-down menu, then, type in OCCC or Carson’s in the search window.
For more information about health inspections, contact Chow at 405-419-4268 or email sharon_ firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information regarding Carson’s Café, contact Aguilar at 405-682-7583 or email email@example.com.
To contact Paris Burris, email firstname.lastname@example.org.