Photo: Eric Molina/Flickr
Stadium concessions are a huge part of the business of sports as franchises clean up on the high profit margins and lack of competition.$7.50 for one hot dog? What choice do you have? (Pretty tasty, though.)
For those kinds of prices, fans would expect the highest quality from their food preparers, but things are not always what they seem. It’s a tall order to feed 52,000 people in a single night and keep the the kitchen spic and span. Most MLB ballparks can’t (totally) pull it off.
So we looked up the public food inspection records for every Major League Baseball stadium to see who’s the best — and worst — at keeping your food clean.
The violations are labelled as either critical or minor violations from the 2010 season. There is some difficulty comparing different ballparks, as each city, county, or state system for restaurant inspections, and the same violation can mean different things in different places.
For example, having an employee drink cup without a lid in a food preparation area was critical violation in Philadelphia, but a minor violation in St. Petersburg. In some cases, municipalities don't list certain kinds of violations. Los Angeles and Anaheim list their minor violations individually, but Los Angeles only lists the general issue whereas, Anaheim gets into more explicit detail.
Both Chicago ballparks were not included on this list, since Chicago does their park fare inspections only when there is a complaint. Minnesota's Target Field, Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and Detroit's Comerica Park also aren't included, since there was not enough information available about those three parks.
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Minor Violations: 8
Highlighted Violations: There was some pooling of water in a cooler, and a few very small issues with the building itself.
Location: Atlanta, GA
Minor Violations: 77 points docked (Most having to do with the building itself, e.g. lights too dim.)
Non food related surfaces were dirty.
Not all the proper posters and permits were up in the main kitchen.
Location: Arlington, Texas
The city of Arlington gives all individual concession stands scores. A score of 0 is the best possible grade a stand can get, and 22 of the concession stands in The Ballpark In Arlington had perfect scores. No stand scored worse than a 12 which itself is considered slightly above average.
A total of 12 concession stands in the home of the Rangers had violations against it. The exact violations are not detailed.
Location: Boston, MA
Minor Violations: 3
Encrustments found inside the ice machine.
Employees neglecting to clean and sanitize at least one can opener blade.
Location: San Diego, CA
Minor Violations: A few, but there's no indication as to how many, or what they were.
One citation for keeping prepared foods at the wrong temperature.
Improper uses of food storage.
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Minor Violations: 11
No soap at hand wash stations.
Raw meat stored at 54 degrees.
Cheese and hot dogs stored between 45-49 degrees.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Minor Violations: 100+
Two separate occasions of liquid, pasteurized eggs being held in an unsafe temperature range.
Nearly every concession stand got demerits for general uncleanliness.
Location: Houston, TX
Minor Violations: 33 Minor
Various issues with ice machine cleanliness.
A few instances of employees storing clothing in unwelcome areas.
A water fountain was found in excessive disrepair.
A salad bar did not have a sneeze guard or have the food stored at the right temperatures.
Location: San Francisco, CA
Minor Violations: 117
Hot dogs kept below the required legal holding temperatures.
Food contact surfaces were not cleaned.
Evidence of either roaches, rodents, or flies (unclear as to which).
Hands of at least one employee not washed or gloved when handling food.
Location: Washington D.C.
Minor Violations: 24
Brown spots and rust were found on at least two ice machines.
Fruit flies were discovered by a soda fountain, and one inspector believed that some fruit flies possibly got into the syrup hoses.
A dead mouse was found near a few bags of potato chips. Rodent droppings were found outside of a cooler as well.
Some undercooked meats were stored in a fridge with raw meats.
Location: Miami, FL
Minor Violations: 3 (Violations at Sun Life Stadium only counted if the inspections took place during the baseball season)
Many sinks did not have hot running water
Spray bottles containing hazardous material were not properly labelled.
Inspectors observed 20 plus flying insects by the soda machine.
There were cups of beer (without any sort of lid) stored near the employee drink station.
Location: St. Louis, MO
Minor Violations: 74
Taco meat was improperly heated in such a manner that would welcome rapid bacterial growth.
Another plate of taco meat was being held at 68 degrees.
Hot dogs held at 92 degrees.
Chicken salad held somewhere between 63 and 67 degrees.
Location: The Bronx, NY
Minor Violations: 32
Food was subject to contamination and cross-contamination.
'Filth flies' found in food preparation areas.
Several stands missing appropriate hand washing facilities.
Food products stored in dented cans.
Multiple signs of 'vermin.'
Location: Denver, CO
Minor Violations: 18
Sour cream, salsa, chives, blue cheese, eggs and various salad ingredients were held between 52 and 64 degrees.
One employee was seen picking up material off the ground while wearing gloves and then continued to handle prepared food without changing the gloves.
Red slime found in an ice machine.
Hot dogs and hamburgers held between 112 and 118 degrees.
Location: Anaheim, CA
Minor Violations: 365
A pepperoni pizza had an internal temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
A cooked chicken was sitting outside of a holding container for at least seven hours, and had an internal temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit.
An employee was observed eating ice directly out of the ice machine.
Fruit flies found in two bottles of liquor.
A dirty bag of ice that had melted was placed in the ice machine to refreeze right on top of the clean ice.
Location: Seattle, WA
Minor Violations: 35
Many instances of improper food holding temperatures.
Some employees used improper hand washing techniques.
Prepared food was handled via bare hand.
At least two examples of hand washing stations not being up to code.
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Minor Violations: 89
Dairy based sandwich sauce held at 46.8 degrees.
Many instances of perishable food being stored in malfunctioning refrigerators.
No soap or hand sanitizer at hand washing station.
Employees were preparing to sell food that was previously held in dented cans.
A prepared chicken and bacon sandwich was being held at 88 degrees, well below the required 135.
Location: Queens, NY
Minor Violations: 50
One food worker was spotted handling prepared food without using protective gloves or tongs.
'Filth flies' found in food preparation areas.
Evidence of live mice in at least three locations.
Cleanliness of the employees was noted as 'inadequate.'
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Minor Violations: 92
Cook was observed handling raw beef patties and subsequently handling ready to eat foods.
Shrimp were being de-thawed in a dish washing sink when inspectors visited.
Tea spigots were coated with slime.
Employees were seen cutting lemons with their bare hands.
Hot dogs held at 78 degrees.
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Total Number of Violations: 39 (No distinction made between minor and critical violations).
Hot dogs held at 118 degrees.
Sink drainboard used for portioning out sauerkraut.
Ice cream not protected with a sneeze guard.
Several bins of sanitizer solution were far too weak.
A tray of pretzels was stored in a hand wash sink directly under the faucet.
mould build up found in ice machine.
Location: Oakland, CA
Minor Violations: 158
Employees were not properly sanitizing food prep surfaces or utensils.
One violation indications the stadium was not kept free of either rodents,cockroaches, or flies, but fails to indicate if it was just one of those pests or any combination of the three.
Hot and cold water pressure was too low.
Employees often noted as not washing their hands enough or correctly.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Minor Violations: 59
Live roach found in a food service area
Rodent droppings found throughout the ballpark
Prepared grilled chicken cooling at 48 degrees
Microwave was caked with food debris
mould accumulation on the ice machines
Location: Kansas City, MO
Minor Violations: 117
A few hand washing sinks did not offer hot water
Chicken fingers well under required temperatures
Food stored in 'soiled' boxes
Customer drink trays were stored on the floor right before they were sold to customers
No sneeze shield at the dessert bar and at a salad bar
Inspectors observed 23 bags of Cracker Jack that ranged from being a few weeks to a few months past expiration date
A bottle of deli slicer oil was found spilled into a drawer filled with utensils
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Minor Violations: 112
Various raw animal based products stored not properly separated from one another.
Same pair of tongs used to handle two different animal products.
Build up of slime and soil on the interior of several ice machines.
An employee handling food had fingernails that were long enough to prevent the proper wearing of protective gloves.
Steak thawing at room temperature.
Employees were seen handling money and also handling food without changing gloves.
A prepared shrimp sandwich was being held at 82 degrees.
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