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Queens Chronicle

Health Dept. shuts down York cafeteria (Update: City reinspects, clears violations)

Mice, foodhandling and plumbing issues found; arts center also shut

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:30 am

City health inspectors have cleared York College's cafeteria violations found on Sept. 10 that resulted in the facility being ordered closed.

York officials notified the Chronicle of the change in status Thursday afternoon.

The cafeteria no longer is listed as closed on a portal operated by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The city had ordered the cafeteria at the Jamaica school to close after an inspection on Sept. 10 discovered evidence of mice and other health violations.

"As part of the process of opening the cafeteria for the fall semester, it was inspected by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and found to have issues requiring that its opening be delayed," the college said in a statement emailed to the Chronicle on Thursday. "We take our responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for our college community very seriously. To that end, we have implemented an aggressive plan to address the concerns identified and restore the cafeteria to a condition our community deserves and has every right to expect. These steps include regularly scheduled top-to-bottom cleanings of all surfaces and equipment, a review of internal kitchen practices, and the retention of outside contractors to assist in these efforts. As a result, the City has already reinspected the facility and cleared it of all violations. Going forward, the College will continue to review its relationships with its outside food services vendors in order to ensure that these relationships best serve the College Community."

 In a seemingly unrelated matter, a visit to the campus this past Monday also confirmed that the school’s Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center has been closed because of possible mold conditions, forcing the school to relocate a number of classes to alternate sites.

An inspection report on the website of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the school’s cafeteria cited five sanitary violations, including:

• hot food not held at or above 140 degrees;

• evidence of mice or live mice present in the facility’s food and/or nonfood areas;

• food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage preparation transportation, display or service;

• facility not vermin proof; harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist; and

• plumbing not properly installed or maintained; anti-siphonage or backflow protection device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly drained; sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.

The performing arts center on Monday had steel crowd-control barricades deployed in front of the main entrance. The doors were sealed with a chain that was secured by a padlock. Notices on the door alerted students to new sites for their classes related to the performing arts.

In regard to the performing arts center, located just across Guy R. Brewer Boulevard from the main campus, the school has traced the cause to leaking problems.

“Two weeks ago the York College learned about possible mold contamination in its Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Building,” the school said in its statement. “We have begun the process of evaluating the environmental conditions in the building, which will continue over the next several days. In the meantime, in an abundance of caution, we have relocated all classes and operations from the PAC to other locations on campus and will continue to advise the college community as our evaluation of the building continues.”

UPDATE

This story has been updated to include information from York College stating that the cafeteria has been reinspected by the city and cleared of violations.

Richard Heaton contributed to this story.

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