Canyon Vista Dining Hall to Close After Health Inspection

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Canyon Vista has recently been criticized for their unique “farm to table” approach.
Photo by: Jessica Ma

UC San Diego Housing, Dining and Hospitality (HDH) announced Tuesday that the Canyon Vista dining hall will close on March 23 after failing its first outside health inspection. Under a new law in effect this year, all UC food facilities must now be inspected by an outside agency. Rather than force HDH to close Canyon Vista immediately, the County of San Diego is allowing the dining hall to stay open until finals week ends while HDH “cleans their food trucks.”

“Honestly, I don’t know how it happened,” said Jan Fingersmith, manager of Canyon Vista. “When UCSD EH&S inspected us, we always passed with flying colors. They even put up a little sign with an ‘A’ on it that looks just like the ones the county gives out.”

“This place is, pardon the language, a shitstorm — literally,” said Alex Overland, an inspector with the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health. “I thought I found rat droppings behind one of the fryers until one of the employees told me they were raccoon droppings. That doesn’t make it any better.”

“Rodent droppings, mold in the ice machine, food that says it was made last week … it’s really a laundry list of things. Oh, and ugly uniforms, too,” continued Overland. “When I first walked in, one of the customers told me Cafe Ventanas had worms in their fish. I get the feeling I’ll be here a while. I still don’t know if ‘64 Degrees’ is the name of the dining hall or the temperature they cook the food.”

John Glover, a second-year Marshall student who works at Canyon Vista, acknowledged HDH’s problems. “Honestly, when people ask me what it’s like in there, I tell them they don’t want to know. By the way, to all my coworkers who got a cold after eating the salad I made last week, I’m sorry. But I’m more sorry that there’s no paid sick leave here.”

After the inspection on Monday, HDH said in a statement that they are committed to “the highest standards of food safety and quality” and that “this is not reflective of HDH’s restaurants and markets.” HDH reminded employees in a separate memo that “phones and cameras are not permitted while on the job” and that “employees should report health and safety concerns to their managers, not outside agencies. Any concerns reported to people who may encourage the use of money or negative publicity to fix said concerns are strictly prohibited. ”

“When we went in there, all we did was put up the sign,” said an anonymous UC San Diego EH&S employee. “We didn’t really check anything. All we did was ask the manager if there were any issues, walked around, and left. We never really followed up on any complaints we heard, because technically, all the complaints on Facebook and Reddit about obviously undercooked food don’t count as formal complaints.”

Canyon Vista is expected to remain closed until the next school year. It is unclear at this time if other dining halls will close as they are inspected. An anonymous Sixth student expressed that Foodworx may be spared because “no one even knows that it exists, let alone where it is. As the old saying goes, ‘It’s not poison if nobody eats it.’”

Staff Writer at The MQ

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