Earlier this week, ESPN released a report that outlined what percentage of vendors in the venues of NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB teams had health violations. What's more, ESPN included excerpts from the health report, giving light to some of the nasty details behind the failures. To say the least, it made me not want to ever eat or drink anything at a stadium again.
Considering I'm probably not alone in feeling that way, the venues of the Detroit teams mentioned in the report are officially on damage control. While many of the venues in the report passed with flying colors and received some good publicity as a result, that was not the case for the venues of Detroit teams. 70% of Ford Field's vendors were cited for at least one health violation, for example. 52% of vendors were cited at Joe Louis Arena and 51% of vendors were cited at Comerica Park. The Palace did the best of all the Detroit venues, although their number of 31% was still not all that impressive.
In response to what is definitely a threat to business, each of the venues commented on ESPN's report with either a statement or by talking to the Free Press.
Jeff Behr, general manager of Sports Service at Comerica Park, disputed the findings Monday.
“Personally, I don’t know where they get the numbers,” he said. “It’s nowhere near that percentage. It might be closer to 20%. That (51%) would mean every other place is getting cited.”
Asked whether he thought the report was inaccurate, he said: “I’m sure there is some validity to some of what they have to say.”
The rest of the statements can be found after the jump.
“Ford Field, through Levy Restaurants, utilizes a third-party external vendor to audit our food safety and sanitation operations on a regular basis. These unscheduled reviews are considered an industry best practice. We also take immediate action to address and correct any suggestions for improvement the health department provides. The safety of our guests and our team members is our top priority, and we follow a strict food-safety and sanitation program.”
Palace of Auburn Hills:
“We are committed to food safety in our operations, and we have a solid food-safety and sanitation program in place to provide the proper employee training, safety procedures and food-handling techniques required to meet or exceed our standards, as well as those of the local health department. We anticipate the health department’s regular visits as another set of eyes to ensure our operations are delivering consistent, safe experiences for our fans.”
Joe Louis Arena:
“We remain fully committed to our No. 1 goal of ensuring the safety and satisfaction of our guests and immediately corrected the issues that were included in the health department report. In addition to welcoming the inspections from local officials, we are diligent in our internal quality-assurance program that includes hiring independent food-service consultants for operational reviews, requiring ongoing training and certification of our staff and conducting daily checks of every aspect of our 30-plus preparation and service locations. Our guests can be very confident that we are vigilant in ensuring the highest standard of quality and safety in all the products proudly served during our events.”
While ESPN's numbers may be inflated a bit considering the nature of some of the violations, I will definitely think twice about getting food the next time I go to a game at any stadium.