Ahead of the biggest homestand of the year thus far, Sports Illustrated has released a report on Food Safety across all MLB Stadiums.
Among the 28 stadium reports were compiled, Tropicana Field ranked disturbingly last:
28.) TROPICANA FIELD – TAMPA BAY RAYS
Total violations: 241 | Critical violations: 105
Ballpark Food Safety Rating: 5.58 | Entities inspected: 62
With a staggering 105 critical violations in 2017, Tropicana Field brings up the rear in our 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. An ESPN report from seven years ago found that every inspected stand at Tropicana had at least one critical violation. That number has dropped from 100% to about 50%, but the Tampa Bay stadium still leads the way in eye-popping food safety numbers.
For those looking for clarification here’s SI’s definition of a Critical violation, it is as follows:
Critical violations: Citations linked to the spread of foodborne illnesses or, if an inspector had not been there to correct the violation, could have led to these risk factors. Health departments determine violation severity and mark that on inspection reports. Some divide violations into three categories, using terminology similar to “Priority,” “Priority foundation” and “Basic.” The first two are critical in our report. The median number of critical violations across the league was 24. [...]
Yankee Stadium led the league with critical violations (62% of its stands), and an infestation of flies highlighted the inspections from late July in the Bronx.
I don’t even know what to say.
There’s no excuse for “live insects” and “black mold accumulating inside an ice bin.”
It’s a good thing you’re allowed to bring your own food into the stadium.
Here was the response from Centerplate, the food management company at Tropicana Field:
Contracts between ball clubs and hospitality companies shift liabilities and responsibilities away from the team and it is unclear whether the league gives any guidance to teams on how to best work with food management companies. Major League Baseball declined to comment on this story. [...]
A spokesperson at Centerplate said in a statement that the company partners with independent food safety experts and local health departments. The company also noted that in each of the incidents cited in recent health inspections, the violations were corrected immediately.
In total, Centerplate only serves three MLB Stadiums.
The Tampa Bay Rays have issued the following statement in response to the Sports Illustrated article:
“Each aspect of the fan experience is very important to us and that includes food quality and safety. We understand that Centerplate has taken corrective action for all of these violations and will be taking additional steps to ensure food safety. Moving forward, we will be working cooperatively with both Centerplate and Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation officials to provide even greater oversight of the nightly concessions operations.”
UPDATE - AUGUST 14, 2017