Students allege unsafe dietary options at Bartol Hall

Recently students have created a petition for Simmons to drop Aramark as their food provider, saying that Aramark is providing rotten and unsafe food to students.


Photo by Olivia Ray.

Grace Tamborella, Contributing Writer

Simmons students allege that Bartol Dining Hall doesn’t provide safe eating options for those with dietary restrictions. 

The Simmons University official website declares Bartol Dining Hall to be an all-you-care-to-eat dining facility. According to the Simmons Campus Dish website, the newly renovated space introduced new dining options such as True Balance; daily selections that are made without wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fin-fish. As well as, a vegan section dedicated to preparing vegan dining options. Bartol Dining Hall refers to itself as a nut-free facility that provides safe dining options to those with nut allergies. However, the Campus Dish website released a statement claiming that ingredient lists are not up to date due to supply chain issues.

Elizabeth Grover, a Simmons resident and junior journalism major, said she frequents Bartol Dining Hall. On September 19th, 2021, Grover and her roommate decided to eat dinner at Bartol Hall where she decided to get a new dish, baked Indian chicken. Grover said the sign that identified the chicken was handwritten and did not specify the ingredients. 

After a few bites of the chicken, she said started to have an allergic reaction. Grover said, “my mouth felt strange, my tongue started swelling, and my lower jaw felt tender.”

Grover said she had no food allergies before this, so she was unsure what the problem could be. Her roommate decided to talk to the Bartol workers, who will remain unnamed in this article, to try to determine the cause of this allergic reaction. Grover said that the dining staff were unable to provide an ingredient list. 

Grover said she received Benadryl from her resident advisor and was told to call Public Safety or 911 if her symptoms got worse. 

“I consider myself lucky that the reaction was not life-threatening,” Grover said.

Eden, a sophomore, is a vegan nursing student who said they’re disappointed with the lack of vegan options at Bartol. “I often have to piece together well-balanced meals from different food stations.” 

Eden said they have had to make the hard sacrifice to eat some vegetarian options instead of vegan. They think Bartol should make sure there is a well-balanced vegan option for every meal. They also mentioned that Bartol should invest in making sure the fruit and vegetables are ripe and ready to be eaten, as it would benefit the dining community as a whole. 

Aramark, the provider for food and dining staff at Bartol, released a statement about the issues after an interview was denied by Kathy Bowler. Aramark stated that food safety is very important to their company, but the pandemic has contributed to issues such as “supply chain issues and labor challenges.” 

Aramark claims to train its staff on food safety, allergies, and customer service. They also mentioned that they offer dining accommodations through the Office of Accessibility Services for students that have food allergies. They did not provide a comment that directly addressed Elizabeth Grover’s allegation of an allergic reaction to an unknown ingredient or how they will work to improve these issues.

Recently students have created a petition for Simmons to drop Aramark as their food provider, saying that Aramark is providing rotten and unsafe food to students.