Story by Cody Hall, Contributing writer
Winslow Dining Hall will switch its main hot food line to self-serve after Spring Break.
The change is a push to save money and to give more back to the university, said Paula Amols, director of Dining Services.
Winslow has seven food line options, “Salt and Pepper” being one of the main hotlines.
Winslow’s budget is separate from that of the university, Amols said. Dining Services is trying to help reduce costs.
This switch will not cause any student workers to lose their positions at the dining hall. Currently, Winslow works with a temporary agency to provide extra hands around the facility. Dining Services will stop working with the agency and workers that worked at the “Salt and Pepper” line will fill in those open positions.
“I’ve talked to the chef about it on and off for the last few years, especially when we had some staffing shortages,” Amols said. “Any money that we spend to run Dining is coming from within Dining, but that does not mean we are not going through some of the same exercises.”
“Anywhere we can save money is some additional money we can give the university to help out,” she said.
Cutting off their work with the temporary agency could have some negative effects, said Harry Quinn, senior and Dining Service employee from Eddyville, Kentucky.
“The turnover rate is already so high, if they stop using the temp agency, it will make it more difficult for Winslow to find workers,” Quinn said. “The temp agency helps add some consistency by giving them available workers when they need them.”
Other establishments that serve food in a similar fashion can have health risks.
According to an article published in the Food Safety News from July 2010 by Colin Caywood, any buffet-style establishment is going to have potential sanitation problems.
“Food safety officials are concerned about contamination of the buffet food, which is why there is a sneeze guard covering the buffet items,” Caywood wrote.
“Regulations require that utensils used in food preparation be changed every four hours, and if the serving utensils fall into the food, especially the handle, the entire platter of food must be discarded,” he wrote.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs in most situations. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 6 percent or more alcohol can be used as well.
Winslow offers both sanitation options at the entrance of the facility.
“At the end of the shifts, the utensils are changed,” said Tim Bruce, department chef. “As we rotate through the cycle of workers, they are continuously changed and they are usually switched before the shifts end,” he said.
Bruce said shifts are normally two hours long.
Another issue that buffets face is the chance of cross-contamination, according to the Food Safety News article. This could be an issue for some students with allergies.
“If someone is concerned with allergies with the food, all they need to do is come to someone that is a full-time employee, someone with a chef coat, and they can get them some servings from the back that is positive to have no cross-contamination,” Bruce said.
The switch to self-serve line also will give the students much more freedom to eat what they want. This will help in preventing food waste, Amols said.