Campus fruit stand falls short of health standards

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Joshua Mejia

Back in 2017, the fruit vendor was one of the most popular food choices on campus only to have seemingly disappeared in the past few months.

Darwin Lopez, Staff Reporter

Driving through some cities of L.A., one can see many fruit stands. The vendors manning the stands offer a variety of fruits ranging from watermelon to cucumbers, that delight the taste buds of some consumers. If one wants salt? Vendors can add it. Does the fruit need seasoning? Try Tajin. Fruit stands are abundant all over the city of Los Angeles, but one in particular has been missing on the Cal State LA campus for some time.

A fruit cart once stood Iin front of the Fine Arts building, on the east side of the Cal State LA campus, providing chopped and seasoned fruits to students. The fruit cart was last seen during the Fall 2019 semester, but is currently not present.

According to Tariq Marji, the director of University Auxiliary Services (UAS), the Cal State LA UAS holds a high standard in ensuring “the vendors on campus adhere to superior handlings practices and food facility maintenance.”

In a statement, Majri states that the UAS requests that their food services maintain an “A” rating from the L.A. County Health Department. Marji added that “the fruit stand does not meet the standard UAS sets for its vendors.” 

He also said, “We have contacted the owner several times in hopes of improving the rating, but they were unable to improve the rating.”

When asked for the contact information of the fruit stand to comment on the health procedures and actions, Marji said they “do not have his contact information.”

Some students feel that the health grade should not remove the stand and want it to return.

“I think it’s okay if they have it back. I think It’d be good for other students here to have them,” said Cal State LA student, Daisy Torres. “Honestly, me personally, [I] never did order it but I know that other people would like it.”

Additionally, some students thought it can benefit their finances and health.

“It’s my only access to fruits, apart from the expensive bananas or apples that they sell at the student store,” said Christian Arreola, who was a recurring customer of the stand. “This was a great alternative, it was really inexpensive, it goes well with the Everytable that they have here… I don’t think it was that important for it to have that grade A.” 

Arreola expressed his concerns about the campus removing something dear to the students. “I think these letter grades are arbitrary, and to be honest it feels like they’re just taking away from students…everyone that I know that would go to them, [and they’d say]  everything was fine. So, I don’t understand why they removed [the stand].”

Majri has been emailed about the aforementioned students’ concerns and about whether or not there is a possibility that the stand will come back. The UT did not receive a response.