Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College's student newspaper

The Berkeley Beacon

Eat up, kids. Insects found in Dining Center lunch

Sophomore Kathryn Garelli found insects in her lunch from the Dining Center on Wednesday afternoon. Courtesy of Kathryn Garelli.

A student found what appeared to be an insect in their lunch at the Dining Center on Wednesday afternoon.

The upstairs station, which serves hot meals, served meat lasagna, broccoli, and garlic bread on April 4, according to the Bite app, which details Sodexo’s menu at Emerson. Sodexo is the college’s independent food contractor.

Sophomore Kathryn Garelli said she found the insect on her broccoli at the end of her meal.

“I looked and saw this thing that was like vaguely green but not the same green as the broccoli and I was like … that is a maggot,” Garelli said.

Garelli took a picture of the creature, moved it off the broccoli with her knife, and then found another insect.

Garelli works in food service, so she said she’s seen similar insects before.

“This one was weird because it’s green and usually the ones I see are white, if I see them at all,” Garelli said. “It just didn’t look the same as the broccoli and it had the same structure of the worms or little bugs I’ve seen in produce before.”

She didn’t want to speak to a Sodexo worker about the maggots in the middle of the busy lunch rush, but she did send a Snapchat of the incident to a group of friends.

From there, the photo spread throughout the Emerson student community. Junior Avery Mann got hold of the photo and decided to email President M. Lee Pelton.

“It’s a bit upsetting for a couple of reasons, considering the cost of the meal plan and the questionable quality of food the students receive in return for the price,” Mann wrote in the email.

Mann—who declined to comment but provided the Beacon with the email he sent Pelton—pays for an off-campus meal plan, which costs anywhere from $350 to $650.

“Seeing maggots in the food make me not want to continue to eat on the plan, and even notify other students of safety concerns at the Dining Center,” Mann wrote.

For on-campus students, anything beyond the Semel Plan included in room and board is upwards of $650.

In an interview, Pelton said the college will work with Sodexo to determine how the insects got into the food—and ensure it doesn’t happen again. The three college administrators who serve as liaisons with Sodexo are Duncan Pollock, Erik Muurisepp, and Arthur Mombourquette.

“Our focus now is on resolving this issue…[but] I am not at all happy about this,” Pelton said.

Garelli said the incident, while disturbing, wasn’t surprising.

“It substantiated things I’ve heard about Sodexo in the past,” Garelli said.

Chris Van Buskirk contributed reporting.

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