Market cited for 14 health violations


Market Central and Market To-Go violated 18 out of 33 total inspection categories in the Allegheny County Health Department’s most recent Food Safety Assessment Report. (TPN File Photo)

By Hannah Schneider, Assistant News Editor

Market Central, the main hub for student dining at Pitt, was cited for multiple health violations by the Allegheny County Health Department on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Out of the 25 Food Safety Assessment categories reviewed by ACHD, 14 categories were violated, with six deemed “high risk,” according to the report. Of the eight General Sanitation categories, four categories were violated, with three deemed “low risk” and one having no risk.

The first high-risk violation — categorized as food source/condition — was described as condensate observed dripping onto sealed boxes of french fries and raw meat. All foods were removed from the unit, according to the report.

The high-risk violation for the category “hot holding temperatures” said certain foods were being heated under heat lamps at 100 degrees to 120 degrees. According to section 303.4 B in the ACHD Rules and Regulations for food safety, the internal temperature of food requiring hot storage should be 135 degrees or greater.

Pitt was also cited for a high-risk violation in the category “cold holding temperatures,” for certain cold foods measuring at 47 degrees to 56 degrees. According to section 303.3 B in the ACHD Rules and Regulations for food safety, food requiring refrigeration should be held at or below 41 degrees.

Insufficiently cleaned ice-cream scoops were observed in visually cloudy water at the Tower Treats station. After employees were instructed to correct the issue, the scoops were observed to still be in cloudy water at the end of the inspection, resulting in a high-risk violation of cross-contamination prevention.

Employee personal hygiene was deemed a high-risk violation after an employee was observed wiping their nose with the back of their hand and subsequently handling clean dish racks without washing their hands.

A tray of utensils was found dirtied with debris, including the parts of the utensils that come in contact with food. Sanitizer in a dishwashing room was found at an insufficient concentration. Both of these resulted in a high-risk cleaning and sanitation violation.

Abdou Cole, the resident district manager of Pitt Dining by Sodexo, said Sodexo operations at Market use a comprehensive food safety system called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, which follows the flow of food throughout the daily operation of a food service institution. According to the FDA, HACCP is intended to prevent biological, chemical and physical hazards in foods at any point in the food-making process.

“We take food safety seriously. In my many years of serving food to Pitt students, safety is always at the top list. Sodexo has a comprehensive food safety system that goes beyond routine inspections of equipment and appearance. It helps uncover and solve any dangerous defects in food handling,” Cole said in an email. “Our strong food safety policies require Sodexo operations to conduct frequent self-inspections daily and adhere to third-party surprise audits.”

According to Cole, violated categories in reports are identified for follow-up action and scheduled for reinspection, which Market always completes successfully. If Market Central does not address the violations before its next inspection, a further penalty including fines or closure could be imposed by ACHD, depending on the severity of the violations. Cole said inspections are a collaborative and educational effort with the ACHD.

“We have hired a registered dietician, a culinary director, a new general manager and a food safety coordinator. This group will be the food safety committee specifically responsible for addressing employee training and retraining, food labelling, accountability and control points monitor verification,” Cole said in an email. “We are working with the ACHD collaboratively to get our new food safety coordinator up to speed with training from both Sodexo and the ACHD.”