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Harrison Dining Hall’s raw chicken leaves four students sick

Raw chicken served at Harrison Dining Hall Oct. 2. (Photo Credit: Devin Pisa)

A critical error at Harrison Dining Hall led to at least four SUNY Brockport students getting sick after being served raw chicken on Oct. 2.  

SUNY Brockport sophomore Devin Pisa was one of the students who got sick. 

“Harrison should be ashamed for what they serve out and this isn’t the only time it’s happened. I know about many times last year involving raw chicken, and even at one point, mold on bread. That is unacceptable,” Devin said. 

After a student released a photo of the raw chicken they consumed, word spread quickly throughout campus and made its rounds through social media platforms, like Facebook, Snapchat and YikYak. 

Raeanne Cox Pisa posted to the “Parents of Brockport Students” Facebook group on Oct. 6 to warn other parents about this issue:  

“Watch out if you eat at the dining hall. My sons and their friends got very sick from their raw chicken they were served for lunch.”  

Several parents commented their surprise and concerns on Raeanne’s post over this incident, as well as frustration towards Brockport Auxiliary Services Corporation (BASC).  

“This is inexcusable!!! Food is supposed to be temp-checked before served. So no one is doing many jobs required. It’s time to make phone calls again as we had this issue last year. BASC this needs to be addressed with your staff!!” Sharlene Barnes said in a comment on the post.  

“Just wow. I would hope anyone would know not to eat that, send it back, and alert the dining staff immediately. You could have a lot of people seriously sickened,” Dave McKinley said in another comment.  

(Photo Credit: Devin Pisa)

After a few hours, BASC commented on the post: 

“As soon as we were aware of this we took immediate corrective action. We have since put additional protocols in place and retrained staff to ensure the safety of the foods that we serve. We apologize that this happened and are working to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Food safety is our top priority.”  

A week later, BASC released an official statement through a social media post in that same Facebook group on Oct. 12 addressing rising concerns:  

“We sincerely apologize for the incident that happened last Monday evening. Food safety is our top priority. Our team takes tremendous pride in their work and is devastated that this occurred especially given that we have extensive protocols in place to ensure food safety. Here’s what happened: Harrison Dining Hall ran out of its normal product during dinner and moved to a substitute product. The substitute product was highly irregular, did not perform similarly to the original product, and was extremely inconsistent. As a result, despite temperatures being taken, some portions of the product were not fully cooked. To prevent this issue from occurring in the future, we will no longer serve substitute products that have not been previously tested and approved by our culinary management team. Again, we sincerely apologize that this situation occurred and are working diligently with our team to ensure the quality and safety of the foods we serve. If you have additional questions or concerns about food safety please reach out to us directly at [email protected].”  

SUNY Brockport assistant vice president for communications John Follaco addressed parents’ and students’ concerns.  

“I want to start by saying that we are aware of concerns that our students, their parents, as well as our faculty and staff have had related to dining, this year and in recent years,” Follaco said. “I want to assure everyone that those concerns have been heard, and they’re being taken very seriously. Senior leadership at the university have been actively engaged with our partners at BASC to talk about areas that need improvement, and to help work with them to get improvement.” 

While this incident wasn’t the first time food safety concerns have been raised at Harrison Dining Hall, the college is working towards solving the problem. 

“We know continuous concerns continue to persist and we continue to engage with BASC leadership to try to solve those problems,” Follaco said. “We are always looking to be actively involved in terms of listening to students and providing that feedback to BASC, I think in recent semesters, the communication between BASC leadership and SUNY Brockport leadership has become more open and more frequent and that’s something that we’re committed to maintaining in the future to ensure our students are getting the kind of quality and services that they deserve.” 

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