A story coming up on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” (Sunday, 6 a.m.) asks: How safe is the food sold at your favorite ballpark or stadium?
This can never be good.
The show says it pulled health department inspection reports for concessions and restaurants at all 107 MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL venues in the United States and Canada operating in 2009.
Guess how many had “major” or “critical violations” reported? Nealry one in three.
When Outside the Lines requested to shoot video of a health department inspection, every stadium and company asked denied it.
In a piece for ESPN.com that will be posted Sunday, reporter Paula Lavigne quotes one supervisor of food at an MLB park, speaking on the condition of anonymity: “I was taking chowder out of a big container to put into a smaller container to put out in the service area, and as I was spooning it out, I see this puss-filled band aid inside of the chowder. It was red, bright red center with all the yellow puss around the outside of it.”
Chowder? Does that kind of limit it to Fenway Park and … Fenway Park?
“Food-borne illness is more than just a stomachache,” says Chris Waldrop, Director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America, in the story. “It really could have serious repercussions. Stadiums may be a very overlooked area where public health departments need to focus some resources to make sure that all those vendors are meeting food safety requirements.”
With that, I’ll go back to reading my copy of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” Not to mention this story by ESPN.com’s Patrick Hruby (linked here) from last year about how ballparks hijack your brain into thinking you’re hungry for some comfort food.