Home Homepage Latest Stories I Don’t Want to Hold this Beetle’s Hand!

I Don’t Want to Hold this Beetle’s Hand!

by Brian Rooney

Before winter break, a beetle was found in a student’s broccoli at Sam’s Place. At first, I feared for the effect this incident would have on the already skewered reputation of broccoli. I do not understand why broccoli has such a bad image. I find broccoli to be quite enjoyable, whether it be steamed with melted butter, freshly squeezed lemon, by itself or what have you.

Montclair State University Residence Life sent out a campus-wide email regarding the Sam’s Place-invader.

“Food safety is of paramount importance to us. Insects occur naturally as part of the farm to table process of harvesting produce,” the email stated. “We uphold high standards of food handling practices when washing and inspecting fruits and vegetables prior to cooking and serving to ensure quality assurance. Montclair State Dining is proud to serve a campus community of over 24,000 people on a daily basis. Montclair State Dining Services will continue to be vigilant about our sanitation practices.”

Now I do not think it takes a Jimmy Neutron to realize this message is simply a giant croc of horse manure. If food safety was of paramount importance and they really upheld high standards of food handling when inspecting, this incident never would have occurred.

“Montclair State Dining Services will continue to be vigilant about our sanitation practices,” the statement said. If this is them being vigilant, that means those stray hairs I always find in my mac and cheese are up to protocol.

I am no George Washington Carver, but do they actually expect us to believe that Sam’s Place gets their produce farm-to-table every day? If that were the case, I do not think the bananas would look like green giraffes. If insects are part of the farm-to-table process, count me out of “SacTown VegFest 2019” in McClellan Park, California. Not that I was even planning on going, but the mere possibility of my attendance has now been shattered.

Earlier in the email, Residence Life identified the culprit as a produce beetle. After doing some research, I found there is no such thing as a produce beetle. However, I did learn that there are many different types of beetles, such as the Japanese beetle, the striped cucumber beetle, the Colorado potato beetle, the golden tortoise beetle, the Hercules beetle, the Eastern Hercules beetle, the American carrion beetle, the Asian-long horned beetle, the green June beetle, the Eastern-eyed click beetle, the spined soldier beetle, the grapevine beetle, the elm leaf beetle, the varied carpet beetle and of course Cryptolaemus montrouzieri.

In fact, the only information I found when I Googled produce beetle was that Volkswagen will be discontinuing production of the iconic car model in 2019. I guess I will have to come up with another excuse to sucker punch my Uber drivers.

I understand mistakes like these are made in food service and I am sure the Sam’s Place staff is working to improve their process to help minimize accidents like this from happening in the future. However, instead of sending out a public relations stunt to cover their rear-ends, I would much prefer that the university responds by telling it like it is, which is follows:

Since 2006, Montclair State tuition has increased by over $4,000. This increase may not seem like much considering the nearly 29 percent state funding cut that has occurred over the same time period. However, we have now realized the effect that lack of funding could have on an aspect of student life as important as healthy and safe dining. So where exactly is that $4,000 increase in tuition going toward? Well, at least $455,000 contributes to President Susan A. Cole’s 2.7 percent salary increase she was given in 2018. That is not including the $88,000 she received as a performance bonus.

The last article I wrote included a joke about how Sam’s Place would never receive a five-star review by the evil food critic from “Ratatouille.” Now we know why.


This satirical piece is written by Brian Rooney, a comedy writer for The Montclarion.

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