Stadium food: Health reports from around Tampa Bay

8:08 AM, Sep 27, 2011   |    comments
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Click here to look up how many critical violations local concession stands averaged

TAMPA BAY, Florida - A year after a scathing national report ripped the cleanliness of Florida stadiums' concession stands, Tampa's largest sporting venues have shown modest improvement in reducing risks to consumers.

Concession stands that were racking up a dozen "critical violations" at a time have trimmed the number down considerably, but most concession stands at Raymond James Stadium and Tropicana Field were still cited for risks by state health inspectors during random visits.  At the St. Pete Times Forum, almost half of all concession stands received "critical" violations.

"Our policy is to make sure that food is prepared safety, stored safely, and served safely, so that consumers can consume their food safely," said Beth Frady of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the agency that conducts health reports.

The DBPR describes critical violations as "those which, if not corrected, are more likely to directly contribute to food contamination, illness or environmental degradation.  Examples of critical violations include poor temperature control of food such as improper cooking, cooling, holding, or reheating temperatures."

Violations at area arenas included "white buildup in ice machines," "insects and rodents," and "a lack of proper hygienic practices" at Raymond James Stadium.

No immediate dangers necessitated any of the stands' closings, and all violations were fixed after identified by inspectors.

But since the 2009 reports were exposed to a national audience, the news has improved for Tampa Bay sports fans.

You can look up how many critical violations local concession stands averaged here:

You can look up specific violations and concession stands on the DBPR's website.

Centerplate, the concessions vendor for Tropicana Field, has reduced its average number of critical violations by more than two-thirds, to 1.1 per outlet.  But 57 percent of outlets still were cited for things like "mold and flies," "slime in the ice machine," and workers handling meat without gloves.

Raymond James Stadium got a new vendor, Levy Restaurants, which has helped reduce the number of critical violations to 1.8 per outlet, but nearly three quarters still were cited. And the St. Pete Times Forum averages less than one violation per outlet, with just 44 percent of concession stands cited.

The Rays declined comment on the story, and their vendor, Centerplate, declined an interview, but it issued the following statement:

"There is no higher priority for Centerplate than food safety, and the wellbeing of the fans we serve. Since 2009, Centerplate facilities at Tropicana Field have undergone hundreds of health inspections, and have met or exceeded health inspection standards each and every time, a success rate of 100%. Centerplate actively cooperates with local health departments, and trains our employees to ensure that this success rate will continue. Any deficiencies that are identified during the course of an inspection are corrected, usually immediately in the presence of the inspector. While these are extremely isolated cases, we take every chance for improvement seriously, as we continually strive for perfection in our hospitality services."

The Buccaneers referred the Investigators to their vendor, Levy Restaurants, who issued the following statement:

"It's a team effort when it comes to food safety and sanitation and we make training a top priority so that each team member is properly trained on procedures and food handling techniques required to meet and exceed our standards and those of the health department. We welcome health department visits as a second set of eyes to help ensure our standards are being monitored and maintained with the utmost scrutiny."

The Lightning chose not to comment on the story. 

Connect with 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook at or Twitter at  Read his sports business blog at Shadow of the Stadium.

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