For a week and a half, John Jay’s MBJ Cafeteria received a “C” on their New York City Department of Health and Hygiene inspection test. On September 27th, 2017, they proudly posted their newly minted “A” placard.
In the duration of the “C” being posted, the John Jay administration advised club leaders to not order from MBJ for catering events.
On the same day that MBJ earned an “A” from the NYC Department of Health, Steven Titan, Vice President for Finance and Administration at John Jay, released an email to the John Jay community assuring that the necessary parties are monitoring the situation to ensure the food’s safety.
Fernando Pacheco, who has worked for MBJ for two years, noticed a difference in the amount of customers when their “C” grade was posted. He notes that they acquired points for little mistakes which they’ve now corrected.
Some students weren’t concerned with MBJ’s grade, but the thought of what may be happening behind the counter made some uncomfortable.
“That’s scary, because I’m eating their food right now,” said Cheyenne Drysdale, a freshman at John Jay who was indulging in her pasta and turkey.
Sophomore Cesar Collado finished paying for his beef patty and recalled “I know someone who got sick from eating their food.”
The violations that cause a restaurant to get their letter grade are not listed on the posted placard, but more information can be found on exactly which violations were recorded during an inspection test on the NYC DOHMH website.
Violations recorded in John Jay’s MBJ Cafeteria include:
•Evidence of mice and filth flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
• Unprotected food from a potential source of contamination.
• The facility not being vermin proof.
Many students can look passed the “C” because they are not fully aware of the situation. “You may not fully know the circumstances,” said Criminal Justice major, Nicholas Fogle.
Sophomore Cesar Collado agreed. “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” he said.
Aldana Vasques, the Director of Catering at MBJ, expressed how violations can be minuscule matters indirectly related to food handling or a person’s health and safety. “For example, if we didn’t have toilet paper in the bathrooms, we would have gotten points for that since it’s part of our kitchen,” she said.
People may see a “C” and be unpleased, but Vasques believes people need to be more educated regarding the qualifications to receive a certain letter grade.
“I would assume that the college would have a rather put together hygienic environment for students to eat,” said Nicholas Fogle.
An inspector visits restaurants unannounced and gives them a letter grade to represent their results for their sanitary inspection test.
This grade must be posted where it is visible from the outside, specifically, in sight of prospective customers.
Inspectors search for food handling, food temperature, personal hygiene, facility/equipment maintenance, and vermin control. A restaurant earns points based on the number of violations the inspector accounted for; less points means a higher grade.
MBJ, which stands for the names of the three founding men, Mike, Burt, and Johnny, has been in business since 1980. Their services can be found at several other CUNY campuses; all of whom have scored an “A” on their inspection test.
With the new “A”, MBJ employee Pacheco said that everybody is happy. The MBJ administration is acknowledging the issue at hand, and have been rectifying their mistakes since.