A hot dog with everything on it could take on a whole new meaning at the ballpark. A study by Sports Illustrated revealed the best and worst parks for food safety, and the results at some venues might make fans consider brown-bagging it.
SI used data from local health inspections to rate 28 major-league ballparks (information for Cleveland’s Progressive Field and Detroit’s Comerica Park could not be obtained).
The Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field was far and away the best park for food safety, receiving only five violations and one critical food violation — low food temperature — for the 88 food areas inspected.
Broken equipment and evidence of rodents are construed as a violation, the report states. Critical violations are anything linked to the spread of foodborne illness. To give you an idea as to how superior Safeco Field is, Boston’s Fenway Park came in second with 30 violations and two critical violations.
As for the White Sox, inspectors on June 15 found 48 total violations, 28 of them critical, placing the team 18th in the rankings.
The Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 in a Thursday afternoon game that day while health inspectors checked 43 food areas and concessions. Here are some of their findings:
◆ “Observed 12 mice droppings in Minnie Minoso’s Stand.”
◆ “10-15 small flies in the main kitchen under prep tables and on lower walls.”
◆ “Removed soiled greasy manufacturing tag in the popcorn machine in direct contact with popcorn as it falls from popcorn popper.”
◆ “Helmet nacho chips at the following locations — Tex-Mex 3, Churros/Tex-Mex 110-111 and Tex-Mex 5 — stored in front of stand unprotected from contamination.”
Most of the Sox’ violations involved improper food temperatures, hand-washing and sinks. After failing on the first inspection, the Sox took care of the violations and passed five days later.
The Cubs had only eight critical violations — mostly for improper food temperatures — and were eighth in the rankings. Despite what Ozzie Guillen used to say about Wrigley Field and rats, no rodent activity was found at the stadium.
Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, was ranked as the worst venue for food safety with 241 total violations, 105 of them critical.
Inspectors found everything from live insects to mold in ice bins, according to the report.