University of Chicago Dining Hall and Lab School Cited for Mice Poop

By Sam Cholke on May 1, 2013 8:02am | Updated on May 1, 2013 8:34am

 City health inspectors closed the Arley D. Cathey Dining Commons on the University of Chicago campus in November after finding fruit flies and mice droppings.
City health inspectors closed the Arley D. Cathey Dining Commons on the University of Chicago campus in November after finding fruit flies and mice droppings.
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DNAInfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — Health inspectors gave failing marks to two facilities on the University of Chicago campus, and the university admits it's not sure why problems keep occurring at one of the buildings. 

City health inspectors discovered rodent droppings in classrooms and dining halls during routine inspections on April 23 of the Cathey Dining Commons and the Laboratory School.

A university spokesman referred questions to an April 26 letter to the campus community, which noted that the school was "already in the process of changing our pest control service in Cathey Dining Commons. We are using this opportunity to put new safeguards in our contract to guarantee the highest possible level of service.”

At the Cathey Dining Commons, inspectors found 40-45 mouse droppings under the dessert station and under sinks and in cabinets in prep areas. The south campus dining hall at 6052 S. Ellis Ave. has been cited three times in the last six months for health code violations, the last on Nov. 29.

“Any health code violation is unacceptable. The fact that we had two sets of violations in the same facility during the same academic year, especially after the rigorous steps taken last fall, raises questions we cannot fully answer,” the university said in the letter.

“For that reason, we are immediately hiring an outside consultant in food safety issues to audit our facilities and processes and tell us whether there are any additional steps we can take to ensure the highest level of safety and cleanliness.”

Aramark is the contractor running the university’s dining facilities. After the previous failed inspection, the company was going to fumigate and clean the Dining Commons.

Also on April 23, inspectors found 25-30 mouse droppings in the kindergarten rooms No. 181 and No. 189 and in hallways, closets and general storage cubbies at the Laboratory School. Rodent droppings were also found in a mop closet at the school, 1362 E. 59th St.

A university spokesman was not immediately able to say what steps were being taken at the Laboratory School.

Health inspectors were scheduled to return to both facilities on Tuesday for a follow-up inspection. The Chicago Department of Public Health did not have the results of the inspections as of Wednesday morning.

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