Sodexo officials confirmed late Tuesday that a blade from a machine used to chop potatoes in Market Square was found on a student’s plate earlier this week.
Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Sodexo, Inc. is the food service provider for Market Square.
Taylor Showalter, freshman religion and business double major, said he was eating lunch served from the Cook House section on Monday when he discovered the sharp, three-inch blade.
“It was buried beneath the potatoes and when I went down to eat something my fork stabbed something hard and that’s when I uncovered the… blade,” Showalter said.
Sodexo and TCU officials released joint statements regarding the incident.
"Sodexo has provided TCU quality food service for many years," Craig Allen, director of Housing & Residence Life, said in an email sent by University spokeswoman Lisa Albert. "This is the only incident of this nature and we are pleased with Sodexo's attention to food safety. Sodexo's prompt attention to this issue and plan to investigate the cause to prevent it from happening again exemplify their commitment to food safety."
Sodexo officials said in a statement that Market Square serves about 1.2 million meals per year and that this incident is a very rare occurrence.
Sodexo regrets the equipment malfunction and is appreciative that the customer was not injured and brought the issue to our attention, the statement from Sodexo said. Officials said the machine is no longer in service in order to investigate.
Showalter said he was eating with friends when he found the blade. He said they took photographs of the blade and reported it to a manager. He said he uploaded the photo on Facebook but later took it off and untagged himself from other’s photos because he did not want to make Market Square look bad.
The Market Square staff was professional about the situation, Showalter said.
“I was concerned for the rest of the student body,” he said. “It could have been the kid right in front of me.”
Four students who ate with Showalter during lunch confirmed the incident to TCU 360 staff.
The students who were eating with Showalter said they plan to keep eating at Market Square but would be more careful with their food, freshman psychology and child development double major Kristin Hathaway said.
“How often do you cut into your chicken and you look beside your potatoes and you have a blade,” Showalter said. “It’s pretty rare.”
Bailey McGowan, Andrea Masenda and Caroline Conte contributed to this story.