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How does food safety rank at Seattle’s Safeco, CenturyLink Fields?

Dec 13, 2018, 11:07 AM | Updated: 11:30 am

safeco field...

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Not all sports stadiums can specialize in frito pies, longbone beef ribs, or phorritos — or even edible grasshoppers. Seattle is pretty lucky when it comes to spectator food.

But an ESPN report recently found there is more than meats the eye, or mouth, going on behind the scenes at America’s sports stadiums. Reporters dug through thousands of safety inspection reports for food service at 107 stadiums between 2016 and 2017. At least half of the food outlets at 28 percent of the venues committed high-level violations. The article notes that “high-level violations” can differ in meaning depending on the state.

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However you define it, moldy food, insect infestations, mouse droppings, or even live mice is not a good kitchen environment. There are even reports of employees not knowing the basics of hand washing, or servers cited for bad “personal cleanliness.”

Not all stadiums suffer embarrassment in the report. Lucky for us, Seattle’s CenturyLink and Safeco Fields are not in the bottom three on this list of shame. Though, they don’t rise to the top, either. At least we’re not Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC. That stadium has problems, like beer leaking through the ceiling.

Safeco Field

The Mariners’ home stadium ranks 33rd out of 107 stadiums across the country. Safeco incurred a high-level violation in 21.74 percent of its inspections.

Out of the 92 food outlets, 20 had high-level violations, according to ESPN. The top offenses were:

  • Hand washing: Seven separate inspections discovered inadequate hand-washing facilities at the stadium.
  • Food temperature: Nine inspections uncovered food stored at improper temperatures. In this case, food storage wasn’t cold enough.
  • Raw meat: One incident is pointed out in the ESPN report. On Aug. 22, 2016, one Safeco kitchen was found to be physically storing raw meat over food that was cooked and ready to eat. This is a pretty basic no-no when it comes to food regulations.

CenturyLink Field

The Seahawks’ stadium comes in at 52nd out of 107. There were 22 out of 68 outlets with high-level violations, though at a glance, they may seem like fairly light offenses.

High-level violations include:

  • Bare hands: On June 4, 2017, inspectors discovered that there were inadequate barriers to prevent bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat food.
  • Food temperatures: Improper reheating procedures were found in eight inspections.
  • Food handling: One outlet was informed about the potential for food contamination due to temperature — not being cold enough, long enough — during delivery, preparation, or storage.

Just as a reminder — since both stadiums seemed to have problems with food temperatures — state regulations say that food should be stored at above 135 degrees Fahrenheit, or below 41 degrees. The “danger zone” is when food is store between those two temperatures.

Cook foods to 165 degrees for poultry; 155 degrees for hamburger and sausage; 145 degrees for eggs, fish, beef or pork; and 135 for vegetables. And while we’re on the topic, just keep raw food away from cooked food.

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How does food safety rank at Seattle’s Safeco, CenturyLink Fields?