ESPN’s Outside The Lines reporters can’t see us, but the entire Takeout staff has heaved our butts off our ergonomic office chairs and is collectively applauding their investigative efforts. Today, those intrepid sports reporters dropped a massive, in-depth analysis of food-safety violations at major-league sports stadiums. Bottom line: We may never eat a stadium hot dog again.
The extensive report examined food-safety inspections from 2016-2017 at all 111 North American pro sports arenas, which amounted to nearly 17,000 inspections. While the vast majority had better overall inspection ratings than other food venues in their areas, “at about 28 percent of the venues, half or more of their food service outlets incurred one or more high-level violations, the type of unsanitary conditions or omissions that can pose a risk for a foodborne illness.”
These include beer leaking through ceilings, bartenders using their bare hands to handle garnishes, lack of food-expiration dating, moldy food, insects in the food preparation area, and more. If video of a concessions employee spitting on pizza didn’t turn you off stadium food entirely, this very well may. The worst offender among ESPN’s rankings is the Charlotte Hornets’ Spectrum Stadium, with 92 percent of food outlets cited for high-level violations. Use this interactive tool to find out how your local stadium fared, and perhaps skip the Spectrum nachos. Again, bless you, ESPN Outside The Lines.