University Aramark contract to continue

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SVSU is continuing its dining services contract with Aramark, a company that recently lost a state contract because issues with food quality.
Aramark, the same company that provides SVSU with its food products, did the same for Michigan Department of Corrections facilities. That has recently ceased, as the state pulled out of a three-year contract with the company following issues with food quality and food shortages.
According to a report published on Tuesday, Aug. 18, by ProgressMichigan, of 3,707 issues with Aramark, 1,791 were never rectified.
According to an article written by the Detroit Free Press, these “issues with food quality” involved maggots found in food distributed at a Jackson-area prison. The article suggests that sort of incident has happened multiple times before.
Dining Services marketing manager Zach Myers said that Dining Services staff was advised not to comment on the situation.
SVSU Director of Media and Community Relations J.J. Boehm said that the university has been pleased with its contract with Aramark.
“We continue to be pleased with the service they provide at SVSU,” Boehm said. “From what I have observed recently and over a number of years, most students, faculty and staff seem generally pleased with the quality of food service Aramark provides here.
“Food service on a college campus is much different than food service in a prison setting. We understand that these questions are reasonable, given the recent publicity, but we continue to partner with Aramark, as we feel they effectively meet the needs of our campus community.”
Many students have indicated that they are pleased with the food.
One former student employee at the Marketplace at Doan, Jacob Misiolek, said that the food quality actually improved during his time working there.
“The food was bad to start off but slowly got better over the years,” he said. “There’s definitely still room for improvement, but they’re on the right track.”
Hillary Hunt, a former student manager at the Marketplace, also said that the food improved during the time of her employment, and that Aramark was a company of high quality.
“Aramark has had its share of disappointments for its customers, but I will say that throughout my time working for Aramark, their standards and regulations were set very high,” she said. “We had inspections once a month, not only from Aramark employees, but also from health departments, sanitization experts, and so on.”
Hunt also pointed out that any poor quality of the food came as a result of budgetary restraints.
“The food at the marketplace has gotten a reputation to be of poor quality,” she said. “However, in my opinion, that is because of the budget that is put in place.
“Looking at the big picture, we were allowed to spend about $1.75 per meal per student,” she said. “In order to stay in those limits, Aramark did sometimes go for the cheaper options on food grades. That is definitely something that needs to be improved on because employees can be the best workers and follow recipes to the exact measurements and, because of the food quality, their hard work goes to waste.”
Hunt said the issues between correctional facilities and Aramark were a result of poor employee decisions as opposed to any failure on the company’s part.
Other students have offered opposing views, suggesting that the options available to students were slim and that the overall preparedness was lacking.
An online petition was created six months ago urging Saginaw Valley to part ways with the food contractor. The petition was created on change.org and cites animal cruelty as its motivation. The petition states “it’s an issue where food service leaders, environmental organizations, food safety organizations, and animal welfare organizations have all been saying one thing – and Aramark has been doing the opposite.”
Meal plans and declining balance options at SVSU range from $200 to more than $3,500.