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University Introduces Dining Hall Reforms Amid ‘Uptick in Gastrointestinal Illness’

Nicky Andrews | The PhoenixAfter confirming an “uptick in gastrointestinal illnesses” in students over the past few days, the university has implemented new safety measures in dining halls across campus.

Loyola officials are aware of an uptick in “gastrointestinal illnesses” during the last few days of the fall semester. New safety measures were implemented in dining halls, including new cleaning and food service procedures, according to university spokesperson Anna Shymanski Zach.

“[The university] is working quickly to ensure that no other students, faculty, and staff are impacted,” Shymanski Zach said in an email to The Phoenix.

This comes just a week after The Phoenix reported it found 20 students who had gotten sick from food served in Loyola’s dining halls so far this semester.

However, the university said it doesn’t have any evidence of foodborne illness being traced back to Loyola Dining, according to an email from Anna Rozenich, the university’s vice president of communications.

Rozenich explained the university became aware of the uptick in illnesses through students reaching out to The Wellness Center. 

“Since the initial calls, the number of students calling to report their symptoms and asking for guidance has been declining,” she said.

One student who was impacted in the past week is junior Anna Berg. Berg, a criminal justice major, says she got food poisoning Dec. 8 after eating a chicken caesar wrap sold in the Damen Food Court.

“I had pretty bad cramps, nausea, some vomiting, body aches, a mild fever and chills,” she said. “I was too exhausted to do much until [the next] morning.”

Lucy Butsch, a first-year English major, said she got sick after eating chicken served in Damen Dining Hall on Dec. 10.

“I felt super sick and then threw up,” she said. “After that I was fine.”

First-year Isabella Blake said she ate pizza in Damen Dec. 9 and got sick the morning of Dec. 10. 

“I woke up feeling super sick and threw up a little bit later,” Blake, a forensic science major, said. “I was nauseous all day.”

Students can no longer serve themselves, Loyola Dining employees must handle all food served.

Shymanski Zach said the university has implemented other measures to ensure food safety.

“Those efforts include enhanced cleaning and safety procedures for high-touch common areas in dining and across campus for the remainder of the semester to mitigate increased holiday contact and potential outbreaks,” she said.

Rozenich said that these protocols are expected to remain in place for the spring semester.

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