The Zorn Dining Commons (DC) lost 20 points in a routine food license inspection on Nov. 7, 2022, the most points lost since 2019.
Points were lost due to mold and debris being found on rolling racks and shelving units inside of the walk-in coolers. Food had also been found to not meet temperature requirements, and a case of rotten cantaloupes was found inside of a walk-in cooler.
The Equinox believes that Keene State can and should do better with the dining services they offer. The main location students depend on for food should not be falling close to failing. The DC should never have mold on the racks that store food.
It is common to hear complaints about the DC from students. They are not satisfied with the quality of food that is being served. The Equinox thinks that there has been a decline since the COVID-19 pandemic. There were many issues then, but things have only gotten worse. Eggs used to be made to order; now they are made from liquid eggs. Grills used to be cleaner, and now the DC lost eight points in the inspection because of debris on various cooking equipment and utensils.
There have also been reports of unfriendliness among the staff in the DC. Of course, this is not a universal experience and does not encompass every employee; there are exceptions. However, in the experience of The Equinox, this same attitude does not happen at the other on campus dining locations, such as Lloyd’s and Hoot-n-Scoot. The Equinox believes this is a result of employees being under more stress since the onset of the pandemic. Lloyd’s does not have similar reports of unfriendly chefs.
Safety in food should be a priority, not a privilege. There is clear false advertising when it comes to the promotion of the quality of the DC.
On Admitted Students Day and other special events, the DC is noticeably better quality. A lot of money is spent on promoting how the food looks to incoming students, but not when it comes to maintaining how it looks. This higher quality food should not be given to just campus visitors — the students that live and eat on campus full-time should get the same luxury on any normal day. Most students rely on eating at the DC for sustenance; we should be spending money to upkeep how the DC looks when it is promoted to incoming students.
The score for the DC’s inspection has not been this low since Nov. 4, 2019. The Equinox believes that Keene State should do a better job at handling how the DC functions. Food safety should be one of the highest priorities of Keene State. It is concerning that most students would not have known how bad things are if the inspection was not public knowledge.
The Equinox believes that there is a lot of unused potential for the DC. It is good on special occasions, it just needs to stay good when incoming students are not looking and current students who rely on them are. More needs to be done at the DC, because the condition it is in now is unacceptable.