The Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays have long been trying to explore opportunities to either build a new stadium or simply pack up the franchise and move. And judging by a recent survey of ballpark food safety and health concerns, perhaps a new place to call home is in good order.
A recent survey of ballparks published by Sports Illustrated based on health inspection records and online databases around Major League Baseball took a hard look at the sanitary conditions your favorite ballpark treats are being served, and the results were not so pleasant from Oakland and Tampa. Order hot dogs and nachos at your own risk when attending a game in Oakland or Tampa, but feel good about what you are consuming when taking in a ballgame in Seattle, Boston or Houston.
A grand total of five violations were documented at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, by far setting the standard for how food should be handled and prepared around Major League Baseball and the entire sports world. Even though the Mariners are cooking grasshoppers for your enjoyment, the food staff throughout the stadium remains the best in the business according to this report. Boston’s Fenway Park had the second best report with a total of 30 violations (violations range from improper storage of utensils, improper food temperatures, food handlers not using gloves, broken dishwashers, etc.), and Houston’s Minute Maid Park and Colorado’s Coors Field followed with low food safety scores.
Oakland-Almeda County Stadium had 131 recorded violations. Yikes. But what else would you expect from a stadium that leaks pipe water so much that it floods the clubhouse? The Coliseum is long overdue for renovations or a full replacement, which is why the A’s have been fighting to get a new stadium for years. But the fans should not have to suffer in the process like this.
From Sports Illustrated;
Nearly every stand had at least one violation, and almost 60% had at least one critical violation. Things were, for the most part, bad. There were signs of vermin, food kept at unsafe temperatures and handwashing facilities in ill repair. A common violation was for facilities not equipped with sanitation measurement testing equipment.
But there is a reason Tampa’s Tropicana Field came in dead last in this survey. A whopping total of 241 violations pretty much put the Rays’ feet in cement blocks and let them sink to the bottom of these rankings.
Two food entities (the catering kitchen and the stand outside Section 303) tallied over 20 violations each. Violations ranged from the observed presence of live insects to black mold accumulating inside an ice bin. An employee was observed handling hot dogs and cash without washing hands in between.
So if you go to a Rays game, it may be advised to pack your own sandwich and beverage if possible. Or wait and grab a bite to eat after the game on the way home.