A student found a worm-like bug in his salad at Locke’s Loft on Sept. 12, both the student and Gourmet Dining Services confirmed this week.
Joseph Liggio, a freshman at Manhattan College, who found the bug and said that this situation might change the way he looks at his meals on campus.
“I just got here and so far the food has been tasting pretty good but now I need to kind of scrutinize it every time,” Liggio said.
Liggio said that he was eating dinner at Locke’s Loft with a friend and wanted to end his meal on a healthier note.
“So I got a salad. It seemed and tasted fine. I was probably two-thirds of the way done and then I put my fork into the next piece of lettuce,” Liggio said.
“I was about to take a bite and I saw something wiggling on it. I took the piece of lettuce off and put it down on a napkin and looked at it,” he said.
Liggio said that’s when he realized there was a worm-like bug in his spinach. He said that he went up to a cook, told him what he found and was directed to a nearby manager.
Liggio said that he brought the manager over to his table where he put the bug and lettuce on a napkin.
“The manager was examining it and he pulled out his iPhone and took two quick pictures. Then he grabbed the napkin, crumpled it up and put it in his pocket,” Liggio said.
“And he said to me, ‘I’m really sorry about this. This is how our produce comes. We get it fresh in bags,” Liggio said.
Conway said that Liggio handled the situation correctly and the Gourmet Dining staff followed a predetermined “Action Plan”.
“After the manager apologized to the student, he removed the plate and the remaining spinach from the salad bar for further inspection. New product was then brought out to fill in the open space on the salad bar,” Conway said.
He said that the salad is washed twice at the produce plant, vacuum sealed and then washed again before it is put out.
Conway said that even with the food preparation steps, it is important to remember that the produce grows in an outdoor environment and is “easily accessible to small bugs”.
He also said that MC students eat a little less than 200 pounds of various lettuce every day.
“With that amount of volume there is an opportunity, albeit small, for situations like this to occur. Not to minimize what happened, but I am happy to say that this is the first such incident of this type that has been brought to our attention in the last two years,” Conway said.
Liggio said that he will continue to eat at Locke’s because he has “no other option” but that he will be more careful of what he is eating because this is the second time he has found something displeasing in his meal.
“I had a hair in my food the first week and that I kind of set aside and didn’t think much of it because I can understand that maybe. But when there’s a living object in your food… I like Locke’s food 75-percent of the time but that just freaked me out,” Liggio said.
Liggio said that he was contacted by Conway a few days after the incident and was given vouchers for free drinks at the Starbucks on campus.
“This is not a situation that we take lightly by any means and we have made our displeasure known to our vendor,” Conway said.
“Gourmet Dining has maintained an ‘A’ standing with the health department in all locations, for the duration of my tenure here. I invite anyone who would like to tour our facilities to reach out to me.”