Some students at The Hub are finding more on their plates than they can swallow.
Mostly due to the fact that it’s alive.
First-year student Morgan Jehlen posted on the Facebook Class of 2023 group chat Feb. 1 a picture of her salad where an unidentified bug was inhabiting the leaves.
“You can always count on The Hub for surprises in your food,” Jehlen said in her Facebook caption.
The post has garnered a lot of attention and concern from students, with over 105 likes and reactions as well as over 40 comments. Many were complaining that the meal plans are expensive and yet USF is not delivering food up to standards.
For a meal plan, students could pay up to $1,979 a semester or as little as $1,759, according to the USF Dining website.
USF Dining Marketing Director Jessica Cicalese responded to Jehlen privately and publicly announced in the chat that they had removed the produce from the shelves permanently.
In response to the bug found, USF Dining planned “Be heard!” forums Feb. 4 at JPH 1317 and Feb. 5 from 6-8 p.m. at JPH 1319 to address any dining issues.
Many students have also stepped up saying this is nothing new. Karly Hudson, a junior studying public health, followed up with a separate post on the Facebook page saying she was extremely disappointed in USF Dining Services after having her own unlucky experience.
“This was the last straw for me personally because the [bug] found in the [food] just completely grosses me out,” Hudson said. “It’s one thing to have undercooked food, but physical matter found in food — cooked food especially — is completely unacceptable.”
She said she believes the feedback forum will be a beneficial way of getting answers from USF dining face-to-face.
Hudson said she is encouraging other students to speak up about their own experiences with contaminated or undercooked food from USF Dining. She created a GroupMe chat for students to voice their biggest concerns and brainstorm ideas on how to fix this problem.
“Right now there are eight members and our biggest concerns are the cleanliness of the food, food being cooked at and to correct temperatures and also served and held at safe temperatures,” Hudson said.
Other instances students have reported include mold found on food such as bagels and eggs, as well as undercooked meat on chicken.
Hudson said that when USF Dining lacks in food safety, it especially harms students who rely on financial aid as a means of daily meals.
“I am here on complete financial aid and I have even taken out a small loan to be able to have spending money in case I need it with instances like these,” Hudson said. “My mom is a single mother and doesn’t have money to send me to purchase groceries or outside food when a meal plan is provided already. Students that can’t afford it usually will do without a warm meal or try to rely on the dining dollars from their meal plan, but even those only go so far.”