Student Finds Live Bug in Salad


A freshman found a live grasshopper in her salad from Villanova Dining.

Cate McCusker, Senior Editor

Most Villanova students don’t expect five star meals at the University’s dining halls. Whether it’s mold on grilled cheese, uncooked chicken, or maggots in the broccoli, Villanovans usually assume they’ll be unsatisfied when they sit down to eat.


Yet this freshman student, who has asked to remain anonymous, had quite the surprise when she opened up the salad she bought from Belle Aire Terrace.


“I opened it up, and then the grasshopper stuck to the cap,” she said. “At first I just thought it was a leaf, so I poked at it with my fork, and it moved. It kind of freaked me out.”


The student explained that she then quickly closed the salad container, and the bug continued to move around inside. 


“I was definitely surprised, but at the same time, I guess it’s kind of understandable,” she said. “It blended in kind of completely with the leaves, so I could see how that would happen… but it obviously kind of changed my idea about going to eat there. I’ll still eat the food there, and sometimes I’ll get the salads, but now I’m just way more cautious. I, like, have to look through everything and make sure there’s not anything living in there.”


The freshman and the upperclassmen she was eating with took a video of the bug to show their friends, who then showed their friends, and the video began to spread like wildfire. Eventually, the video ended up on @barstoolnova, an instagram account with over 25.6K followers.


“You don’t go to Villanova for the food,” read one comment.


“I want a public apology with tears,” read another.


The freshman student explained that she didn’t expect the video to get so much attention.


“It was kind of funny like seeing it blow up with all those comments,” she said. “I was kind of surprised. I didn’t think that the video was gonna get that popular, or get sent out like that, but it’s kind of funny seeing that.”


Many students were appalled by the incident, but they were not completely surprised that it happened.


“It’s unfortunate, but this is not the first time that something like this has happened,” said a junior who wished to remain anonymous. “My freshman year there were maggots in the broccoli, last year, there were, like, a bunch of caterpillars in the salad bar. I was horrified, but this is not the first time this has happened, so it’s not something that I was shocked.”


The Student Government Association (SGA) has a specific committee to deal with problems like this, called the Student Life Advisory Committee (SLAC). The Villanovan spoke to a member of this committee to discuss what happened.


“As soon as SGA found out about this bug, we sent an email immediately to Dining Services,” said the member of SGA, who asked to remain anonymous. “I mean, it was within 20 minutes, probably, of us finding out…we’ve gotten that statement out to them, asking them what was going on, you know, basically what’s the problem?”


According to Villanova’s Dining Services, they learned of the incident through social media.


“The experience this student had was unacceptable,” said Tony Alfano, Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services, in a statement to The Villanovan. “Villanova Dining Services takes this matter very seriously and has spoken with its vendor to find out how something like this could have occurred. Dining Services has suspended use of the produce used in these salads and is assessing other options to bring in for our customers.”


Alfano described how Dining Services handles the food, and he explained that they are committed to serving “only the highest quality product” to the Villanova community.


“Any time an issue is brought to Dining Services’ attention, we take the matter very seriously and work to address it,” he said. “Dining Services receives fresh produce deliveries five days a week. Products are visually inspected at our loading docks when received, and once again when being prepared by our chefs. Additionally, most produce is washed when packaged for shipment from our suppliers. As a final step upon receipt, our staff then washes all produce once again before being prepared for service.”


The student on SGA explained that they understand Dining Services works to provide the best experience for students, but more action needs to be done. 


“We do also recognize that they’re responsible for packaging the salads themselves, right, there’s not an outside company…we do it ourselves here,” the member said. “Being able to kind of have that quality control should be possible. It should be possible to have that regulation based on the fact that they’re packaging their own salads. There needs to be some reconciliation there.”


“I will say, you know, it’s made me grateful that I don’t have a meal plan anymore,” they said. “But I know that for a lot of’s unavoidable that they wouldn’t have said that the school needs to fix the issues going on, or they need to provide everyone with a purpose that they can cook. we can cook for ourselves.”


In their December Monthly Newsletter, SGA commented on the problem and noted what the organization is doing to try to improve the dining experience for students.


“SGA is in the process of working with Dining Services on improving our food on campus,” the statement read. “Dining Services is no longer working with the specific vendor after a complaint about the quality of food. SGA plans to work on extending late-night hours and healthier food options during late night, having comeback sauce in all dining halls, and having dining halls open during study hours at night.”