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Food service at Reds, Bengals stadiums fails ESPN cleanliness test

Health inspection reports find critical violations
Posted at 4:43 PM, Dec 13, 2018

CINCINNATI — Mouse feces at Paul Brown Stadium. Old food from a previous game in a disconnected warmer at Great American Ball Park.

An ESPN "Outside The Lines" investigation may have you thinking twice before you order food at a Reds or Bengals game.

Half or more of the food service outlets inspected at Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium in 2016-17 incurred a high-level violation -- one that poses a potential threat for foodborne illness, according to ESPN's report.

That ranked GABP and PBS as the eighth worst among Major League Baseball and National Football League venues, respectively, ESPN’s reports says.

According to its report, "Outside The Lines" collected and reviewed more than 16,000 food-safety inspection reports from health departments that monitor the 111 professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey facilities across North America.

ESPN’s review of reports from 2016 and 2017 found that 28 percent of the venues incurred a high-level violation at
half or more of the food service outlets. That includes PBS (54 percent - 34 of 63 outlets) and GABP (50 percent - 26 of 52 outlets).

Overall, Paul Brown Stadium ranked 83rd in food service cleanliness and Great American Ball Park ranked 78th.

Paul Brown Stadium findings included:

MOUSE FECES: A large amount of mouse feces, along with mold and a soiled garbage can inside an ice machine at one location on Aug. 16, 2017

BAD FOOD PREP: At an inspection of a pizza stand on the same day, inspectors saw employee drinks in improper containers and/or stored improperly near food. A personal drink had been spilled on pizza intended for consumers. Inspectors observed employees eating in the prep area with personal food items on prep equipment.

DIRTY SURFACES: Floors and countertops were filthy at a full-service pizza location on Dec. 8, 2016. Inspectors reported that management hadn't trained staff about how and when to wash their hands or about how and what to sanitize. There were trash bags piled near a door. "The staff did not address this insanitary condition and continued to serve customers," the report stated.

Great American Ball Park findings included:

OLD FOOD: Inspectors found old food from a previous game in a disconnected warmer on July 25, 2017.

ICE SCOOP ISSUE: Inspectors found that an employee had stored an ice scoop inside the ice, instead of separately, creating the potential for contamination if hands touch the ice-scoop handle and it touches the ice. This citation occurred on Aug. 9, 2016; inspectors cited this violation repeatedly at various locations at the park.

SANITIZING ISSUE: At one location on June 9, 2017, inspectors discovered that the dishwashing machine was reaching only 120 degrees, when it needed to reach 180 degrees. As a result, it was not sanitizing dishes. Inspectors instructed staff to switch to chemical sanitizing in the meantime.

RELATED: WCPO I-Team ranked 29 Ohio/Kentucky sports venues based on food safety.