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The Antelope

The Antelope

Sodexo addresses YikYak photo of insect in food

Distribution problems are causing ingredient substitutions and unavailable items at The Graze. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff 

Two weeks ago, a UNK student claimed to find an insect in their food at The Graze. They uploaded a photo to YikYak, showing a maggot-like insect, but the photo is the only evidence the UNK Dining team has of the occurrence. 

Eran Harrison, general manager of UNK Dining, looked into the claims. 

“No one actually understood how this happened,” Harrison said. “We’ve seen the picture a thousand times, and it still doesn’t make any sense to us. It was an unusual occurrence.” 

The UNK Dining team let the student take an unannounced tour of the kitchen. The student inspected the food preparation areas, ovens and coolers to evaluate cleanliness standards. The Graze’s kitchen and food passed the investigation conducted by UNK and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. 

The investigation solved concerns about cleanliness, but some students have complaints about the food’s quality. 

The Graze sends out surveys to students every year in October and February. Harrison said that students complained mostly about the taste of food. Most of the comments called the food “bland” or “unseasoned.”

“It’s a little rough, I’m going to be honest,” said Jacob Mueller, a UNK student. “The meat tastes like leather.”

William Robinson, the executive chef at The Graze, said food quality has decreased because of distribution problems nationwide.  

“It’s the same issue that everybody is having everywhere,” Robinson said. “Restaurants are having the same issues as us.” 

Distribution problems are causing ingredient substitutions and unavailable items at The Graze. For example, Pepsi is unable to provide soda filters and this decreases drink options. Turkey is unavailable because of increased avian flu cases.

Harrison said the Graze is receiving “questionable” produce from their food distributor, Sysco. Unripe bananas and moldy strawberries came in a recent food shipment. The Graze sends unripe and damaged produce back, but this causes repeated menu items. 

While The Graze has faced complaints, some students praised them for their efforts. 

Zach Zavodny, student body vice president, said he talked with Harrison about increasing sustainability in the cafeteria. 

“He wants to replace the Styrofoam to-go containers,” Zavodny said. “He ordered these new, biodegradable containers, which I think is interesting.” 

The UNK dining hall provides solutions for students with food allergies. 

They provide an app called Everyday, allowing students to record any food allergies. The app will show The Graze’s daily menu and filter out items with unwanted ingredients. Students who are lactose intolerant can call The Graze to request dairy-free pizzas for the next day.

Students can register for food accommodations with the Disability Services for Students Office. They can meet with Harrison afterward to make special meal plans. 

Robinson said UNK’s dining services have ranked near the top of customer satisfaction scores in the district. 

Harrison encourages students to come forward with any concerns they have about The Graze’s food. 

“If there’s any issues, please contact us and don’t feel afraid to ask questions,” Harrison said. “No one should have to feel like they’re not being heard or dealing with these problems by themselves.”

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