Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Surprise ingredients in food raise students’ hairs

I recently woke up one day happier than usual — took a great shower, despite the horrible pressure in my bathroom, did about 20 minutes of morning yoga, and dressed up pretty dapper, if I do say so myself.

I was in the mood for a happy meal. No, not McDonald’s. I was feeling pancakes. I went to Griddles in the ACC and ordered a stack of three delicious chocolate chip pancakes.

The first cut into the pancakes revealed some uncooked batter. Whatever, I’ll let it slide. The workers were taking lots of orders. It’s no big deal. I’ll still enjoy the chocolate-y, syrup-y goodness on my plate.

That was until a few bites more.

Something was in my mouth that wasn’t chocolate chips, syrup or pancakes. It wasn’t even food. What I pulled out of my mouth had to be the longest hair I’ve ever found in my food — close to three inches.

I’ve still got the picture on my phone if anybody wants to see.

Needless to say, this once happy meal and day was over shortly after it began.

This wasn’t some type of attack. I highly doubt any Chartwells workers have a personal vendetta against me — at least, I hope not. But it still was gross and upsetting.

I went back to Griddles to do a little reconnaissance, James Bond style. The mission was simple — blend in with the public and, without being compromised, observe whether the Griddles workers were wearing hair nets.

They were not.

The workers all wore hats, but a hat is no substitute for a hair net, seeing as how it covers only the top of your head and a little bit of the sides.

Wearing hair nets has been one of the top safety measures for any reputable food service for decades, and Chartwells is no exception. The company does not require its workers to wear hair nets, or it’s just lax on the regulations. Either way, Chartwells workers should wear hair nets.

This isn’t the first problem I’ve had with the business conducted by Chartwells.

At least twice, I’ve eaten unlabeled desserts containing nuts and had allergic reactions.

Some students won’t get sick if they eat tainted food like me, but they still like to know what exactly it is they’re eating.

Elizabeth Stillwaggon, an education major here at Plattsburgh State, used to be a vegetarian, and on a few occasions, mislabeled Chartwells food caused her to eat meat.

“I was getting a calzone that was labeled ‘cheese calzone,’ but there was pepperoni in it,” Stillwaggon said.

These are simple problems with simple solutions.

Chartwells workers should wear hair nets.

All foods should be labeled correctly, especially if they contain nuts or other common allergens.

These easy solutions will keep students from reaching for their Epi-pens and from pulling somebody else’s DNA out of their mouth.

Email Griffin Kelly at

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