The Sou’wester

Aramark food services general manager admits Rat went six weeks without pest control, suspects sabotage

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Aramark food services general manager admits Rat went six weeks without pest control, suspects sabotage

The dining hall of the Rat

The dining hall of the Rat

Photo courtesy of HerCampus Rhodes

The dining hall of the Rat

Photo courtesy of HerCampus Rhodes

Photo courtesy of HerCampus Rhodes

The dining hall of the Rat

Alice Berry '21, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

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Interim Aramark Food Services General Manager Todd Littrell revealed that there had been a lapse in pest control in the Rat and alleged sabotage on behalf of Aramark workers or students during an RSG meetiing on Nov. 29.

“[The Rat] had not been treated for, I would say, probably six weeks,” Littrell said.

Although checks had been sent to Terminex, the pest management service Rhodes uses in its residential and academic buildings, Terminex had not received any payment for eight months. As a result, it had stopped coming to treat the Rat. Littrell assured the audience that a new pest control company has been in the Rat almost nightly working on the issue and would continue to do so while the Rat is closed over Winter Break.

“It’s my understanding that the Vice-President came and told us that before the exterminating started that we received a 96 on the food as we had the bugs. I think a lot of students have lost trust in your [Littrell’s] ability to tell us that food is safe,” Senator Jacob Fontaine ’21 said.

During the forum, several students said that they felt worried not just about the quality, but also the safety of the food they were being served. One student remarked that she had not eaten in the Rat or the Lair in several days out of fear of pests.

“We do a better job of policing ourselves than the health department,” Littrell said in response to these concerns.

Littrell emphasized that there are new quality checks in place. Food is being “temped” before and after being cooked and every two hours while it is being served. Recipes were not being followed in the past, but Aramark supervisors are ensuring that instructions are followed by the cooks. Littrell asked that if any foreign objects were found in food to bring it to Aramark supervisors rather than posting about it on social media. Before Littrell’s arrival on campus, complaints about foreign objects found in food were largely dismissed.

Littrell admitted that he did not have an answer when asked how recent incidents had come to pass, if such things are not representative of Aramark and its practices.

“To me, it kind of feels like sabotage, and I’m a little worried about that. I may have employees that may be trying to sabotage, I don’t know if there’s a student that’s trying to sabotage. I can’t explain it, and that’s why if something happens, I need to know…I’ll be honest, I’m scared, too, for you guys,” said Littrell. He did not offer any evidence of the alleged sabotage or comment whether he had reported his suspicions to Aramark’s legal department.

In a recent meeting with RSG, Aramark Vice President Dave Vandenberg said that there was an issue brought to Aramark’s attention 16-18 months ago that was only addressed three weeks ago. Littrell was unaware of the problem, and Vandenberg did not specify what the problem was.

“Everything got let go, and I can’t explain that,” Littrell said.

About the Writer
Alice Berry '21, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Alice Berry is the news editor of The Sou'wester. She is a sophomore Spanish and international studies double major. She has been a member of the newspaper...

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Aramark food services general manager admits Rat went six weeks without pest control, suspects sabotage