Acadia, St. FX and Dalhousie students served plateful of safety violations

Students from around the province might want to think twice before they eat.

Acadia's Wheelock Hall has several food safety violations.
Acadia’s Wheelock Hall has several food safety violations.

Campus dining halls and nearby restaurants in Wolfville and Antigonish have so many food safety violations, gathered online on the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture’s website, you might wonder what’s going on behind the counter.

Online food safety inspection records show hundreds of food safety deficiencies near Dalhousie, SMU, Acadia, St. FX, NSCAD and NSCC campuses.

The most common violations include: storing food at temperatures that could cause contamination, improper hand-washing procedures and malfunctioning equipment.

Ted Grant, academic chair of the culinary arts and tourism at NSCC says some violations are minor or the result of bad timing; Grant, laughing, said, “Probably 100 per cent of restaurants would say that.” Serious problems such as food contamination, unclean food preparation counters and vermin can cover your quiche in an invisible frosting of dangerous bacteria.

The more serious violations include: failure to eradicate pests, improperly functioning sewage systems and not cleaning utensils and food preparation equipment.

Grant says food safety violations need to be taken seriously by professionals in the food service industry, and “now that things are recorded online, even more so, because it’s public record.”

“From an internal perspective of having worked in the industry for so many years, it’s something you just can’t take lightly.”

Students pay thousands of dollars every year for on-campus meal plans and many on-campus dining halls and cafeterias have track records of food safety violations.

“There’s not a huge margin for error,” Grant said.

Wheelock Hall at Acadia University — the campus’ only full-service dining hall — is a repeat offender.

Laura Miller, director of food services at Acadia University says, “ In terms of a priority, on a scale of one to 10, food safety is a 10.”

However, when asked about the history of deficiencies at Wheelock Hall, Miller said, “I’m not aware of any violations involving Wheelock Hall.”

Records show that Wheelock Hall has nine food safety deficiencies since 2011, ranging from inadequate handwash stations to failure to protect food from contamination.

Three of four dining halls at Dalhousie have multiple food safety violations since 2011. Only Risley Hall has a clean record since 2011.

Dalhousie’s food services director could not be reached for comment.

Below are maps of food violations reported in the past year in Antigonish and Wolfville. The data was previously mapped for the area surrounding Halifax campuses by UNews in November. The maps show the date of inspection, the violation found and the action taken by the inspector — fixing the violation during the inspection, discarding food, issuing a notice to comply with codes or issuing warnings for repeated offenses.

St. FX

Acadia