Evans Health Scores, Explained



On September 16, the entire campus was thrown into an uproar over the Evans Dining Hall health inspection score. At 72, the dining hall was only two points away from a score of “U,” Unsatisfactory Compliance, or, as many students put it, failing. The college was given one month to fix the violations before being reinspected. At an 81, the dining hall’s health inspection score can now be considered a B. However, many students are still unsatisfied with the college’s performance, especially since residential students are required to purchase a meal plan. Publicity of the score has sparked an uproar over the treatment of the dining hall staff, leading to an increase in mobilization of the Agnes Scott Living Wage Campaign. Many Scotties have been left confused and angry about the state of our dining hall. 

person slicing on the wooden board

What is a health inspection? 

As it says on the evaluation form, health inspections are designed to find “food preparation practices and employee behaviors” that are often reported to the CDC for causing or contributing to “foodborne illness outbreaks.” Essentially, it ensures that food preparation practices are not going to make anyone sick. 


What was fixed between the first and second inspections? 

During the first inspection, the inspector saw someone pick up something off the floor and then begin to prepare food without washing their hands. During the second inspection, there were no violations of handwashing procedure. Yay!

The chicken was being stored at 56° instead of the 41° required for safe storage. Cooling temperatures were not an issue during the second inspection. Sanitizer was not available at the correct concentration but was fixed on-site during the first inspection. 


And what most people are wondering...what was NOT fixed? 

"Food contact surfaces,” were not, as is required, “cleaned and sanitized.” Though the number of items in violation had decreased, the issue was not fixed. According to the report, equipment was not properly cleaned before storage.

To be considered safe for consumption, food is supposed to be held at either 135° or above or at 41° or below. This was one of the biggest issues that was left unaddressed, despite the fact that it was a repeat violation, having also been observed at the last inspection. 

The inspector tested a wide variety of items in the main kitchen and found 18 of them lacking. Some, like the raw eggs and tuna, were only a few degrees off, while others were over 10° from the safety requirement. The second inspection saw some improvement but a continued large number of violations, with 12 items at improper holding temperatures. Repeat offenders (or the foods that were improperly held on both occasions) were baked chicken, tofu, cut melon (both kinds), cheese, and spinach. Other foods held at improper temperatures during the last inspection were butter, romaine lettuce, deli meat, cut chicken, and cut eggs. The margin was closer for many items, but still did not meet the requirements. Many foods barely slipped by, with a holding temperature of exactly 41°.


Any new violations? 

Surprisingly, yes! The men’s restroom had no hot water, which counts as an additional violation. This was promised to be fixed by October 21st. 


Why do holding temperatures matter so much? 

According to the US Department of Agriculture, food that is stored between the proper holding temperatures (defined by the Dekalb County Board of Health as between 41° and 135°) is in the “Danger Zone.” Foods stored in this range allow for rapid bacterial growth, which can cause sickness if eaten. If food is held at these temperatures, the amount of bacteria can double in as little as 20 minutes. Because of this, it is recommended that food be left out for only two hours or less. 


You can see the health inspection reports here