Upstein Fails Preliminary Health Inspection for Mostly Non-Food Violations

In a press release listing dining halls that received A’s on their inspections, NYU failed to mention Upstein’s 40-point C.

Upstein Dining hall recently received 40 deficiency points, scoring a "C" letter grade from the NYC Department of Health due to the positioning of their equipment. (Staff Photo by Marva Shi)

Upstein received 40 points on an Oct. 21 health inspection — 13 points over the threshold for a C, the worst grade possible — due to the location of its equipment and having food unprotected from potential contamination, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

This comes a month after Palladium Food Court failed a health inspection, mainly for having filth flies present in the facility. Palladium’s grade has since improved from a C to a B, and all other dining halls have either received A’s or have not yet been graded. Other inspection results were noted in a press release sent out by NYU on Wednesday — but not Upstein’s.

Instead, the university revised the press release after WSN reached out for comment on the dining hall’s failed grade, something they said was a mistake in a statement to WSN.

“We decided we would promptly issue an update with the new information — all the new information,” NYU spokesperson John Beckman and Associate Vice President of Campus Services Owen Moore said in the joint statement. “Yet, somehow, between the decision to go ahead with the update and the actual writing of the update, the purpose of the exercise — to be upfront about our inspection — got lost, and the update cited only the successes and not the findings at Upstein.”

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Currently, Upstein is labeled as “grade-pending.” DOHMH policy allows restaurants that fail an initial inspection with the opportunity to address the issues before receiving a grade. Upstein will receive another inspection soon after which they will be given a final grade.  

Beckman and Moore said none of the points deducted in Upstein’s health inspection concerned food handling or food safety. However, although one of the violations categorized as critical by the DOHMH was concerning the location of equipment, the other was due to “food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.”

In the statement, the officials assert that the main issue the inspector had with Upstein had to do with the placement of structural elements such as doors and walls. It also states that these elements have been the same for 20 years, during which Upstein has been inspected many times without a problem.

Still, the university will be working to make the adjustments before an upcoming follow-up inspection that will determine the final grade Upstein receives.

In addition to correcting Upstein’s issues, NYU Eats will be working on transparency, something it emphasized after Palladium’s inspection results were made public by WSN, not the university.

“To be clear, going forward, the updates on health inspections will contain all the information available to us — as we said earlier: the good, the bad, and the ugly — as this one should have,” the statement reads. “All the foregoing information should have been in the update that was issued yesterday. We are embarrassed that it was not.”

Students will have to wait to see if NYU upholds it’s promise, or if they will continue this trend of mistakes that they themselves acknowledged, albeit oddly, in their statement to WSN on Thursday.

“Fiorella La Guardia — an NYU alum who in many ways epitomized New York — used to say, ‘When I make a mistake, it’s a beaut.’” the statement reads. “We know how he feels.”

Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected]

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