The free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches supplied by the Disciples on Campus every Monday were temporarily suspended because of a surprise visit from a Fort Worth health inspector on Sept. 28.
Whitney Peters, a junior middle school education major, was working at the table run by the DOC when the health inspector came and forced her to stop distributing the sandwiches.
“A lot of people had to miss out on lunch that day,” Peters said.
The Rev. Jeremy Albers, associate chaplain and Disciples of Christ campus minister, said the inspector was from the consumer health division of the city’s Code of Compliance Department, which ensures that properties comply with rules set by the City Council.
Peters said the inspector told her that the open containers of peanut butter and jelly were a problem. Peters was also told that in order to continue, students would have to hand out pre-packaged food.
Another problem with the event was that there was nowhere for students to wash their hands. The inspector told Peters that the hand sanitizer offered on the table was not sufficient, she said.
Senior film-TV-digital media major Mallory Kirkham said that she used to get lunch at the DOC table.
“I think it’s just kind of ridiculous that people just trying to do a nice thing have to be over-analyzed,” Kirkham said. “It was just a thoughtful thing for them to do for people, and it didn’t cost anything.”
Peters, who is on the leadership team for DOC, said Albers had been the provider of the bread and spreads. Sometimes cookies and chips were provided to students.
“We’ve worked with the health department and we are finding ways so we can continue offering peanut butter and jelly to the TCU population,” Albers said.
The event will probably restart the Monday after fall break, Albers said.
There were many advantages to the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Kirkham said.
“I thought it was really nice … I have really jam-packed days,” Kirkham said. “It is nice to be able to stop and grab something really quick whenever you have a busy day.”
Peters said convenience for students was the reason the event began.
“It was just the opportunity to feed students who were running late to class or in a hurry or just free food,” Peters said.
The DOC was confused about the violation because they did not actually serve the food, Peters said. In the past they had been told that open containers were not a violation as long as people served themselves, she said.
Albers said they will consider health inspection codes in the future.
“We want to make sure we follow all health code compliance and make sure that we are not violating any rules,” Albers said.