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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Raw Deal For Students and Faculty at Jasmine

    Jasmine Food Court and Kelly Cafe are pending reinspection by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services for violations; meanwhile, there have been complaints of food related illness by students and professors.

    A professor and student were ailed by food purchased from the Jasmine Food Court in September.

    Professor Raiford Guins of the Comparative Studies department ate at Jasmine on Monday, Sept. 8 and was sick for two days with intestinal symptoms associated with food poisoning. Paige Eastwood, 19, a journalism student, ate sushi from the same facility the week of Sept. 22, and was plagued with nausea for a day.

    Professor Guins is not new to the food establishment inside the Wang Center, in fact he ate at Jasmine often and this was the first time he got sick.

    “It was the first time that I tried the Chinese food at the Wang Center. I normally stick to Indian,” he said. Guins was sick for two days with signs of food poisoning. “I did ask around and seven people reported similar circumstances all associated with Chinese food from the Wang Center. I would also worry about the yogurt-based sauces with Indian food. They are often frozen or warm.”

    Guins has not returned to Jasmine.

    Similarly, Eastwood ordered Japanese and described her hesitation to finish the salmon roll she ordered, due to its unusual taste. She said the sushi was “not cold.” Eastwood finished the sushi since she was so hungry, but regretted doing so after she came down with nausea that lasted an entire day. This was the first and last time she ate at the Wang Center.

    Although these minor complaints have not been reported, Jasmine does have outstanding health violations. According to an inspection by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Jasmine Food Court has eight health violations of Article 13 of the Suffolk County Sanitary Code on Apr. 10, 2007 and is currently awaiting a scheduled inspection.

    According to management, improvements have been made since the violations were issued.

    Jasmine has four violations in which “potentially hazardous food shall be received and maintained at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), or at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius)”

    There are two additional “potentially hazardous food” violations for Jasmine in which proper storage and storage containers were not used. Raw egg shells were found beside a ready-to-eat mango lassi dish, violating the code that “food not subject to further cooking before serving shall be stored in such a manner as to be protected against contamination from food requiring washing or cooking.”

    Finally, the walk-in refrigerator read air temperature at 48.0 Fahrenheit, violating the regulation that temperatures must be monitored appropriately with an accurate thermometer to maintain temperatures that are required by the department. “Jasmine Food Court at Stony Brook University is scheduled for inspection prior to the end of the calendar year,” said Grace Kelly-McGovern, of Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

    Until the board returns to evaluate past violations and present improvements, the violations will remain as noted.

    “We have made changes as required by the Health Department since their last visit,” Vineet Kapoor, the general manager of Jasmine said.

    According to Jasmine managers, Vineet Kapoor and Andy Kumar, improvements have been made since the inspection. Such improvements are the Chinese steam table. The once hot plate has been replaced with a water well that maintains a temperature above 180 degrees. Food storage in the refrigerator has changed from deep pans to shallow pans. Temperature regulation have also been improved. Sushi labeling has been enforced stating consumption of raw fish advisories.

    As for food handling, students work the front line and are trained in sanitation. Experienced chefs with 25-30 years in the food industry work in the back kitchen. Managers Kapoor and Kumar are certified by the Board of Health.

    The Faculty Student Association has also inspects Jasmine every three to four months, Kumar said.

    Sushil Malhotra and Rajesh Bhardwaj, both who are involved in the restaurant industry, own Jasmine. Bhardwaj was a food and beverage manager at the Taj Group, a luxury chain across India. Malhotra opened the restaurant Dawat, which was rated as the best Indian restaurant in New York City by Zagat. Together, they own Cafe Spice Restaurant Group.

    Upon opening with such renowned owners, the dining facility was labeled on its website as an “upscale food court,” which has brought a variety of cuisines to campus. Located on the second floor of the Wang Center, the restaurant accommodates up to 350 people.

    According to managers at Jasmine, between 1,400 and 1,500 students are served each day.

    Meals served at Jasmine’s include Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Korean and Thai cuisine. While the dining facility may be receiving fresh ingredients, according to the violations these products are not being properly handled for freshness and quality.

    Of the 17 dining facilities at Stony Brook University, only two eateries are pending reinspection.

    In addition to Jasmine, Kelly Cafe had two violations of Article 13 during an inspection on Apr. 10, 2007. Besides these eateries, Stony Brook University’s dining halls obey Article 13 of the Suffolk Country Sanitary Code.

    The Bureau of Public Health Protection is responsible for maintaining and regulating health and food conditions by Suffolk County Sanitary Code and Laws. There are five units of the bureau to provide utmost protection — food control is responsible for restaurant inspection. Problems concerning food poisoning can be reported to the Bureau of Public Health at 631-787-2200.

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