Food Safety

Each day, Penn State serves more than 14,000 meals in our dining commons at University Park. Food safety is of utmost priority as we strive to give our customers a quality dining experience.

We have several measures in place to ensure the safety of the foods we serve, including the following:

  • Each operation (dining commons, coffee shop, and snack bar) is inspected annually by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
  • Each operation is inspected every fall and spring semester without advance notice by the Penn State Corporate Executive Chef’s office.
  • Our Executive Chef, four managing chefs and three managers are certified instructors for ServSafe.
  • All managers and full-time food service employees (whether cook, production worker, server or janitorial) are ServSafe certified by the National Restaurant Association every five years.
  • All student co-workers and wage employees are required to complete an online Food Handler food safety course.
  • Temperatures are taken and recorded for hot and cold foods during each meal to ensure temperatures fall within safe ranges for holding or serving food. When a food item is not within the proper temperature, it is removed and either brought back up to the proper temperature or discarded.
  • All products Penn State purchases must meet certain specifications, including applicable USDA, FDA inspection requirements, safety requirements of suppliers and vendors, and third-party audit requirements.

Despite these measures, the sheer volume of food we serve daily (14,000 meals) increases the odds that rare incidents will occur. These issues are as troubling to us as they are to the student or guest who experiences them, so we want to know about it right away. We want to make sure our student or guest is okay and then investigate the problem.

The quickest way to alert us is to ask for a manager in the unit where the student or guest dined. If the issue involved a to-go meal, please contact the Residential Dining administrative offices (814) 863-1255 or email the director.

When a student or guest alerts our staff of a food safety incident, we gather the pertinent information and immediately notify the Corporate Executive Chef, who then conducts an investigation. When the investigation is complete, we take the appropriate measures to minimize the possibility of a reoccurrence. We will continue to do all we can to ensure our students and guests enjoy safe and quality food in our dining commons.