As students post videos of cockroaches, city of Hamilton Health department determines university’s pest control plan is adequate


On Dec. 5, 2019, a video titled “Cockroaches at Centro (McMaster University)” was uploaded to YouTube. The video compiles several sightings of cockroaches at Centro cafeteria.

“McMaster University must decide when to address these issues and stop pretending that they don’t exist, like they have been for the last couple years. Just because health inspections are passed does not mean the facility is clean,” reads the description of the video.

On Dec. 9, 2019 another video, titled “More cockroaches at centro” was uploaded to Youtube. It shows a cockroach sitting on the metal lid of a grill while food was being prepared.

“Some people were questioning whether the pictures were not from Centro . . . As you can clearly see there is a cockroach at Centre Stage, one of the most popular locations within Centro itself. It doesn’t take that much imagination to foresee a scenario where a cockroach could fall into your food,” reads the description of the video.

More recently, additional sightings of cockroaches at La Piazza cafeteria were posted to Mac Confessions, one of McMaster’s student confessions Facebook pages.

On Feb. 4, 2020 Mac Confessions published a video titled “The cockroaches from La Piazza would like to say hello” that shows a cockroach sitting on a napkin near baked items at La Piazza.

Director of McMaster Hospitality Services Chris Roberts cautions students against students accepting online posts as fact.

“We cannot control the posting of comments or photos on social media sites, whether they are actual or fictitious,” states Roberts in an email to the Silhouette.

Roberts explains McMaster Hospitality Services has a transparent relationship with the City of Hamilton health department.

“As soon as [student complaints were] brought to our attention, we notified the [City of Hamilton] health department in early December and asked them to come and inspect our locations and review our pest control plan. They determined that we had an aggressive pest control plan and no food safety/cleanliness issues were identified,” stated Roberts in the email.

Moreover, Roberts explains that McMaster Hospitality Services has already met with Orkin Canada, McMaster University’s pest control provider, to increase pest control efforts throughout the school year.

“As of December, we have increased our preventative maintenance service from once a month to twice a month and also now schedule ‘blasts’ of all public spaces during breaks when students are away (Christmas, Reading Week, Summer and Fall Break),” added Roberts.

According to Roberts, pests are not always indicative of food safety issues.

“As McMaster has many older buildings on campus, pests are not an uncommon site [sic] regardless of the use of the building (academic, administration, facility services or food service)” stated Roberts.

Cockroaches on campus may have additional impacts on students. According to the World Health Organization, cockroaches may carry germs that spread disease. Additionally, according to Orkin Canada’s website, cockroaches are known to trigger allergic responses in approximately 12 per cent of individuals with no other allergies.

Roberts adds that McMaster Hospitality Services is continuing to work with the City of Hamilton’s health department and Orkin Canada.