Report Finds Health Risks in Stadium Foods

From mold to mice, cockroaches to feces, many stadiums that serve as major sports venues in the United States have been cited for vile and dangerous, potentially deadly, <"">health violations. A massive problem given that “critical” or “major” health violations were cited at about 28 percent of the 107 stadiums that serve as home to Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association teams, wrote ESPN.

The problem is only exacerbated due to limited oversight and varying regulations, noted ESPN. For instance, in just one example that ESPN pointed out regarding mice droppings significant variations exist. In a number of states, mouse droppings are considered a critical violation; however, some states only classify mouse droppings being present in food areas as simply a minor problem, wrote ESPN.

But, even when unified standards do exist, there could also exist the issue of interpretation. “Different inspectors interpret different violations almost as a referee would look at, ‘Should I call this a foul or not a foul?’” said Dexter King, president of the International Association of Assembly Managers, quoted ESPN.
According to MyFoxNY, ESPN conducted the study based on government health inspection reports that looked into health violations at sports stadiums and arenas. In addition to other problems, the study found that the Verizon Center, located in Washington, D.C. had the most health violations, while New York’s Nassau Coliseum had the least violations—zero—of the 107 reviewed, said MyFoxNY.

NBC wrote that, in addition to being rated the worst among all 107 of the venues reviewed, all of the vendors at the Verizon Center were cited at least once.

Wrigley Field received a perfect record, said NBC; however, Chicago conducts investigations on nongame days. Food is not prepared on nongame days, explained NBC.

At New York City’s Madison Square Garden, most of its stands—a whopping 61 percent—had violations considered critical, said MyFoxNY. Among the violations, mouse droppings were found under cash registers located in front of food preparation areas and even on soft drip dispensers, noted MyFoxNY.

New York sports venues were considered among the worst in the country, said NBC. About 48 percent of New York’s Yankee Stadium vendors allegedly had violations and 45 percent of the concessions at CitiField, also in New York, had so-called critical violations such as selling spoiled food, wrote MyFoxNY, citing ESPN.

According to ESPN, the state of Florida was rated the worst among all of the states.

In addition to mouse excrement, violations included the sale of improperly refrigerated food; dead fruit flies; mold in ice machines; cross contamination; poor employee hygiene; poor kitchen equipment hygiene; and contamination with rodents and insects, including cockroaches, according to the ESPN report.

About one-third of all the stadiums and arenas received at least one major health violation, said NBC. So-called critical or major violations are particularly worrisome as any one of these could lead to the increased risk of serious food borne illnesses and outbreaks.

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