Some local university dining facilities in Philadelphia area plagued with health violations

ByCheryl Mettendorf, Chad Pradelli, and Maia Rosenfeld WPVI logo
Thursday, May 2, 2024
Some local university dining facilities plagued with health violations
Philadelphia area universities offer students a variety of dining options. But health inspections show they aren't always up to code.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia area universities offer students a variety of dining options.

But health inspections show they aren't always up to code.

Our investigation found serious violations at dining halls, restaurants and other food vendors on several local campuses.

Search a school in the table below to see recent health code violations at its dining facilities.

Thousands of students dine at food halls and on-campus restaurants every day, and just like other eateries, these must pass annual inspections by the local health department. But a 6abc analysis found some campus dining facilities have been cited for violations that could make students sick.

Click or tap here for an expanded view of the chart.

West Chester University

In January, health inspectors found two West Chester University eateries out of compliance with food safety requirements. Critical violations included sinks missing hand soap, dented food cans that could lead to the growth of a deadly bacteria, and a refrigerator not cooling to code.

On the same trip, inspectors also found evidence of flies in the dining hall kitchens. A mandatory follow-up inspection in February found the violations corrected.

The university told 6abc they've hired a new Dining Services director and new staff who have "responded promptly to any issues."

Camden County Health Inspector Joanna Barron said these types of violations could put guests - and the facilities' permission to operate - at risk.

"A refrigerator that doesn't work is more like an incubator for growing pathogens," Barron said. "Seeing that the handwash sink is not working, so no hand hygiene is happening in the restaurant, that is an immediate closure."

Cabrini University

In a bustling dining hall at Cabrini University, a Delaware County health inspector found a dead cockroach on the food service line and mouse droppings near the floor of the coffee bar in December.

Health inspectors visited the dining hall four times this school year, also noting a dirty ice machine, which Barron said is a serious violation. In a follow-up inspection this January, inspectors found these problems resolved.

Villanova University

In April, similar issues arose on Villanova University's campus. Inspectors found a dirty ice machine and possible contamination of food by raw eggs at a restaurant in a university dormitory building.

Temple University

At the same time, a cafe in Temple University's Health Sciences Building received a repeat citation for failing to have personnel with a required food safety certificate.

University of Pennsylvania

At the University of Pennsylvania, two popular dining halls made headlines for health code violations and shutdowns last year.

This year, during a routine February inspection at DIG UPenn, an inspector found the restaurant not in satisfactory compliance, with 17 violations, including nine serious public health risk factors. Among other issues at the facility, inspectors found undercooked chicken and evidence of mouse droppings.

"Unmanaged pests means there has been a serious breakdown in maintenance or care or cleaning of the facility," Barron said.

A spokesperson for UPenn said that although DIG is located on its campus, the restaurant leases its space. University-owned eateries have passed recent inspections, the spokesperson added.

But an article in The Daily Pennsylvanian early this year claimed that students eating at university dining halls discovered a cockroach, a maggot and a piece of glass in their food.

Barron said health inspectors hunt for these under-the-radar violations, which can hide beneath the facade of a clean report.

"They're looking for clues," she said. "They're trying to figure out what is actually happening when they're not there."