North Carolina

Worm-filled broccoli found in North Carolina university cafeteria, health officials say

Worms were found in broccoli at a North Carolina university’s cafeteria, prompting the school to stop offering the vegetables, health officials say.

A Wingate University student who complained last month about the vegetables also said diners were served undercooked meat and food that had touched the floor, according to a Union County Department of Environmental Health report obtained Monday.

Officials say an investigator on Sept. 5 visited the cafeteria and talked to workers with the campus’ Aramark food service provider.

“They found more worms in the broccoli and the item has been pulled and the vendor being contacted,” the health department said in its complaint investigation document, which lists no foodborne illnesses.

Every worker was going through the company’s training, Union County officials say.

“Food handling and final cook temperatures are covered in their class,” according to the report.

After the complaints emerged, Aramark decided to change its general manager, increased staff by 40% and “washed produce more,” WSOC reports.

There will also be meetings that allow student groups to share their concerns, according to the news station.

Wingate University on Monday didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy news group.

After the health department’s cafeteria visit, two similar complaints were filed.

In the original email, a student says she and others “witnessed some shocking events that have made us question the safety of the food being provided to us,” according to the Union County documents.

Once, she and her friends “were waiting in line at the grill and saw one of the workers pick up a cheeseburger patty that had fallen onto the floor and continued to serve it,” her complaint says.

In another complaint, a parent reported food wasn’t “kept at the appropriate temperatures to prevent foodborne illness,” the document says.

The health department received the comments days after the dining hall underwent its quarterly inspection on Aug. 27, records show.

Then, the cafeteria received so-called critical violations related to properly cooling chicken and offering paper towels near sinks, the report says. In all, it scored 95 points, records show.

Wingate University is a private school with about 3,600 students spread across three campuses, according to its website.

The cafeteria that was under investigation is in the town of Wingate, roughly 30 miles southeast of Charlotte.

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