SFA Dining Services addresses raw chicken complaints

There have been two raw chicken complaints at the East College Cafeteria in the past month. Students say this has been happening since 2015.

Students have been complaining on social media about the food being served at the campus dining halls in the past month.

On Twitter, a student posted about an incident involving raw chicken that was served in the East College Cafeteria. Leslie Benavides, sophomore early childhood education major from Pearland, said she and her friends were eating dinner when they noticed the chicken in a quesadilla that her friend was eating was not cooked all the way through.

“[My friend] said that her chicken is not cooked,” Benavides said. “I took her plate and opened the quesadilla, picked at the chicken and saw that it was raw and red. We left soon after that.”

After leaving, Benavides said she attempted to post about it on the SFA Community Facebook page, but the post was denied by an administrator.

“As we left, I logged into Facebook and wanted to post the situation on the SFA Community Facebook page because I also

Saw a few days prior that a parent made a post asking if anyone’s child is getting sick from food that is being served,” Benavides said. “My post was declined. That’s when I went on to Twitter to let our students be aware and to make sure to check your food before eating.”

Tiffany Gonzales, marketing manager for SFA Dining Services, responded to the post. “Thank you for alerting us to this,” she wrote. “We take these matters very seriously. Please direct message me or the SFA Dining Facebook page with more details, so that we can investigate to ensure this does not happen again.”

According to Gonzales, the SFA Community Facebook page is not affiliated with SFA Dining, and Dining Services does not know who oversees the page.

“For social media complaints, the procedure is to contact the user to get as many details as possible so that we can investigate the matter,” Gonzales said. “Once we receive the information, we connect with the team to take appropriate actions. We encourage anyone with a concern about their dining experience to contact any of our managers on duty in the dining location, or one of our associates, so that we can provide immediate attention to [it] on the spot. We take all feedback seriously and use it as an opportunity to make improvements to our service. We would like to thank the student that brought this incident to our attention, so that we could take the necessary corrective action to prevent it from happening again.”

Benavides said she talked with Gonzales to sort the situation out.

“I got in touch with [Gonzales], and she apologized and said they are under investigation,” Benavides said. “That’s all I know. I’m just upset because we pay so much money for our meal plans to get this kind of quality of food, and our health is at risk.”

This incident served as a teaching moment for dining hall staff, according to Gonzales.

"Nothing is more important than food safety,” Gonzales said. “We take all customer concerns about food quality very seriously and investigate every concern that is brought to our attention. We maintain rigid standard operating procedures for the entire flow of food production. This includes providing an environment that protects the safety and integrity of food from its delivery, throughout its storage, preparation, transport and ultimately, to the point of service to the customer.”

Students can voice any concerns about dining services through online surveys throughout the semester or in person.

“Our manager team is always available in the dining halls during peak meal periods to address any issues or questions customers may have,” Gonzales said.

Since the incident with Benavides, there has been at least one more reported raw chicken incident that occurred in the East College Cafeteria.

Karlie Smelser, senior Nursing major from League City, tweeted “We loved being served raw chicken… This is the third time this has happened to me. [Please] fix it before someone gets seriously sick.”

Dr. Adam Peck, assistant vice president and dean of student affairs, responded to her post saying “I plan to look into this personally. Can you tell me the date and approximate time this occurred?”

Meredith Janning has worked on The Pine Log since her second semester at Stephen F. Austin. During her time at The Pine Log, Meredith has held the positions of staff writer and news editor.

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