The Daily Illini

UI fraternity fails health inspection

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house located at 211 East Daniels St.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house located at 211 East Daniels St.

Nikky Gary

Nikky Gary

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house located at 211 East Daniels St.

By Annie Victor, Staff Writer

Since January, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has inspected 41 Greek houses, with all but one passing.

On Sept. 28, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, located at 211 E. Daniel St. in Champaign, failed its health inspection.

Jack Lenihan, Sigma Alpha Epsilon president, said their problems started when they hired a new chef.

“Our chef last year was a phenomenal guy, but he decided to take a job up in Minnesota so we lost him. Before the school year started, we hired a new chef spontaneously and after a couple weeks, it was pretty clear the new chef was not up to par,” Lenihan said.

Ashley Dye, senior assistant dean of students and the director for Fraternity & Sorority Affairs, said in an email that certified fraternities and sororities on campus have annual inspections conducted by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

“Both of these inspections are required elements of the certified housing standards,” Dye said.

Sarah Michaels, food program coordinator for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, said she came in for a routine inspection after receiving a call that there were issues in the house.

“They would have been having one anyway, but I just moved up their time. They were due for an inspection,” Michaels said.

When conducting an inspection, Michaels said that, mainly, they look at the facilities’ food handling processes, cold and hot food processes and hygienic processes.

According to the inspection report on the CUPHD website, Sigma Alpha Epsilon had eight critical violations and nine non-critical violations.

Some of the infractions included raw eggs dripping onto packages of raw hamburger meat, food preparation areas not being sanitized, flies, salsa sitting out all day and chicken being stored at 44 degrees. According to the USDA, 40 degrees or lower is the safe temperature for storing raw or cooked chicken.

The total infractions resulted in a score of 33 percent, which is a failing grade.

“When they failed, at that time they were issued a yellow placard and they were given basically 30 days to correct before re-inspection,” Michaels said. “We also gave them a sheet where they can request a re-inspection earlier. They did not turn this in, so they got one approximately 30 days after.”

Lenihan said that since the inspection, it became clear their chef did not have the correct training and he has been let go.

“It’s been the best thing for us,” Lenihan said.  “We hired a new chef who is doing a phenomenal job.”

On Oct. 30, Sigma Alpha Epsilon was re-inspected and received a score of 99 percent.

“We’re back up to our full operations and the health department has cleared us,” Lenihan said.


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