7News investigates student concerns about food safety at UMass Lowell

Fed up students at UMass Lowell say millions of dollars from taxpayers and their tuition are being wasted on food that they can’t eat — and now that 7NEWS Investigates got involved, the university is threatening to cut ties with its food provider if the issues aren’t addressed.

A 7NEWS investigation of the food being served at the university uncovered mold, worms, and purple-colored undercooked chicken.

Freshman Matt Gorham is among those sounding off, saying, “We just want food that’s edible.”

Freshman Ronan Rogier agreed, saying, “It’s not healthy, it’s not safe.”

These students, and their classmates, are so upset with the food being offered in their dining halls, hey sent 7NEWS videos and pictures taken last semester, that show bugs in their pasta, black substances on their lettuce, and worms in their broccoli.

“It got so bad they had to stop serving broccoli because they always had bugs in them,” said sophomore Nate Polgreen.

University Dining stopped serving the broccoli in November, stressing that “food safety is always a top priority.”

In addition to being grossed out, students say they are paying a lot of money for food they can’t eat.

Meal plans at UMass Lowell range from $4,500 to $5,000 a year. Freshmen are required to get one.

The great university meal plan rip off; was going on when I started as an undergraduate in 1981, still going on today.

“It’s undercooked, it’s moldy, it’s even been soggy a few times when it’s not supposed to be,” Rogier said.

Gorham added, “What we are spending on that meal plan each semester, is unacceptable for this food.”

All the food is purchased and prepared by Aramark Education Services, a national company that UMass Lowell paid $18.5 million for this school year.

Aramark refused our request to talk on-camera, instead of issuing a statement, saying “Our top priority is to ensure a positive, safe, and healthy dining environment for the entire UMass Lowell community and we will continue to give this matter our constant attention. We maintain rigid food safety operating procedures for the entire flow of food production. This includes providing an environment that protects the safety and integrity of food from its delivery, throughout its storage, preparation, transport, and ultimately, to the point of service to the customer. We encourage anyone with a concern about their dining experience to contact any of our Managers on Duty in the dining location so that we can provide immediate attention to any concerns, comments or suggestions on the spot.”

Couldn’t make a point with a pin.