Scary Health Violations at Sports Stadiums

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Health inspection notices are often prominently displayed in restaurants, but when you enter a stadium for a sporting event and you start to crave a hot dog and beer, food safety might be the last thing on your mind.

But before you order some of these often unspeakably expensive concessions, you may want to do a quick background check on the food vendors.

From foods left at unsafe temperatures to signs of live rodents and bugs, several major stadiums were found to violate health codes, ESPN found in a review of inspection reports from sports venues across the U.S.

Among the worst offenders was Tropicana Field, home of baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, where every vendor was cited with a critical violation. Inspectors found dirty utensils and counters there.

The Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. – home to the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the NHL’s Washington Capitals - was just as bad, if not worse. ESPN found that of all of the arena’s vendors received health code violations, and mouse droppings were found at 10 of the vending stations.

And just because a venue is more expensive doesn’t mean it’s cleaner.

Some of the venues featured in MainStreet’s recent story about the priciest baseball parks in America were guilty of health code violations.

About 93% of the food vendors at Sun Life Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins and the Florida Marlins, were cited with critical health code violations, ESPN reports. Sun Life Stadium ranked 8th on MainStreet’s list of the most expensive ballparks.

And one incident at Sun Life was so bad that a vendor’s employee called in a complaint that bugs and other particles were being blended at a dirty, slimy stand into frozen alcoholic drinks, the ESPN says.

In another case, at the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, at least one vendor’s location was found to have mold growing in an ice machine.

There were also several reports of food being kept at incorrect temperatures, including sushi that was left out at room temperature.

To avoid the exponential growth of bacteria, food should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, as MainStreet previously reported in our story about food safety at home.

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