Fourth Estate/Madalyn Godfrey

Fourth Estate conducts a poll regarding quality of Mason Dining, 97 of 149 students report receiving undercooked meat during academic school year


Fourth Estate surveyed students on the quality of Mason Dining halls, specifically regarding undercooked meat consumption during the 2023-2024 academic year. 

Out of 149 verified respondents, 97 reported receiving undercooked meat while 52 did not.

68 comments were given to Fourth Estate. Of the total comments, 49 cited complaints towards Mason Dining while 19 were positive or neutral.

“I have gotten bloody chicken multiple times at the dining hall. If the food isn’t raw, it is chewy or dry to the point [where] it feels like sandpaper,” Junior Grace Davis said.

“The food is hit or miss everywhere, but that’s understandable for a college dining hall. It is just really upsetting getting served raw meat because then I have to waste it,” Freshman Connor Patterson

“Me and my roommate have had food poisoning at least twice from southside,” Freshman Mikenna Leithren said.

“Ike’s chicken is always undercooked and I have gotten food poisoning from it a couple times,” Freshman Karissa Thanyachareon said.

“Got food poisoning first day here,” Freshman Auburn Rafferty said.

Students were also asked to rate their favorite dining halls, cleanliness and food quality.

On a scale of one to five regarding cleanliness, students reported an average score of 2.97.

“The employees in the dining halls usually seem rather tired, and I don’t blame them… I see heaps upon heaps of stolen, broken dining hall dishes outdoors. It is ridiculous. It feels as if the student body does not have respect for the establishments, especially at Ike’s,” Freshman Yusef Shehata said.

“All of the food is really mediocre, and sometimes undercooked and everything is not properly cleaned,” Freshman Quinn Eyman said.

“There are flies everywhere. I’ve been served severely undercooked chicken, moldy ingredients at the sandwich bar. I’ve seen workers open mouth cough on plates of food before handing it to students and pick dropped food off the floor and serve it… I would love to see George Mason leadership try to eat at only the dining halls for a week and see the job Sodexo is doing,” Junior Jaye Conn said.

On a scale of one to five regarding food taste, quality and freshness, students reported an average score of 2.96.

“Food quality is poor and is very inconsistent with some days having worse quality than others,” said Sophomore Austin Diaz.

“I’m not a picky eater at all but sometimes the food makes me nauseous,” Freshman Quannee Robinson said.

“My experience was overall great and the food was delicious over by the Ike’s and the Southside. My favorite was the pizza and ice cream in the Ike’s. My favorite from the southside was the tiramisu and drinks,” Junior Daniella Ordonez said.

“I love ikes! 24/7 for the win.” Junior Daniel Lee said.

From the most favorite to least favorite dining hall, Southside received first place, Ike’s received second place, The Globe received third place and The Spot received fourth place.

In the academic year of 2022-2023, Fourth Estate reported individual student complaints of raw meat, including a response from Mason Dining. 

Mason Dining General Manager Jenita Thurston provided a response to the recent survey findings on April 25.

“Mason Dining regrets any instances of undercooked food and encourages immediate reporting to address these issues. We adhere to strict food safety procedures, including temperature monitoring, and provide ongoing staff training. Students can report concerns via MyDtxt or speak directly with our team on site for immediate resolution. Regarding undercooked meat, it’s important to note that color isn’t always a direct indicator of doneness. Chicken thighs, for instance, may appear pink even when fully cooked. We ensure proper cooking temperatures and provide regular staff training on food safety protocols.

We value student feedback and acknowledge areas for improvement, including cleanliness and food quality. We partner with Job Discovery for cleaning services and will explore enhancements. We also continuously refine cooking techniques to enhance dining experiences. While it’s encouraging to see Southside as the top choice, understanding the reasons behind students’ preferences can help replicate successful practices across all dining facilities. The feedback that we collect daily from students through our HappyorNot terminals has consistently rated The Spot with a 95% satisfaction score. 

Our commitment to listening and acting on student feedback ensures an exceptional dining experience. We appreciate the opportunity to address concerns and strive for continuous improvement,” Thurston said.