Your health at Safeco Field

DMZ · September 12, 2004 at 7:20 am · Filed Under Mariners 

You may remember when Safeco Field opened that it had a little run in with the King County Health Board. Since then, you may not have heard anything.

You might want to bookmark this link. Then look it up before you’re thinking of eating at the park next time. I haven’t figured out how to read the numbers yet (S = suite, HIH = Hit it Here, but C = Terrace Club? M? B?), and connecting where you ate to the report’s not easy.

Like let’s say you got sick after you ate at the hot dog stand in early August.

Routine Inspection/Field Review 08/12/2004

-Food workers not washing hands after coughing, sneezing, or otherwise contaminating hands.
-Handwashing facilities not maintained, accessible, stocked.

Ugh. That coughing/sneezing bit, by the way — seems to be the most common serious violation I’ve seen looking through these.

I got food poisoning from the sushi stand a year ago, easily one of the worst experiences of my life. Mmm… sushi. Had good seats that day, too. I’m pretty much SOL on days I get a good seat, now that I consider it. I note that last year they were cited for ‘food on floor’ which is where you really want your raw fish to be. And also on this note, I want say that for that particular incident there was no doubt who the guilty party was.

Still, relative to other establishments, it’s not really that bad. Search for local watering holes yourself. I frequently hang out at the King Street Bar & Oven before games, and it just got dinged as badly:

Routine Inspection/Field Review 09/02/2004
-Lighting and ventilation not provided, maintained, cleaned.
-Foods not protected from actual and potential contamination (uncovered, double stacked, or not under a sneeze guard).
-Food stored on floor.
-Floors, walls, ceiling improperly installed, maintained, cleaned.

My favorite violation is the visiting clubhouse kitchen:

Routine Inspection/Field Review 08/12/2004

-Improper hot holding of potentially hazardous foods because of poor equipment design or maintenance, or not being operated correctly (129 degrees F and below).
-Hot potentially hazardous foods not properly cooled.
-In-use utensils not properly stored.

What’s the big deal, the Yankees get some bad meat, right?

Anyway, the site’s frequently really slow or down (mmm.. tax dollars at work…), but it’s worth checking out.

I should also point out that one of the reasons food isn’t safe at Safeco is that volunteers staff so many of the stations. If you bring in the Prisoner’s Friend Society to run one of the stands, the volunteers are probably going to get a crash course in food safety and then be put into an extremely high-pressure, high-volume job in which they have no long-term interest in the business itself. And while I’m reluctant to say that restaurant workers in general are dramatically more dilligent about safety, it’s their ass on the line, their job, and they should be regularly updated on regulations, etc (I’m sure now someone’s going to comment in the threads about their teenage recklessness in not cleaning the shake mixer at McDonald’s).


14 Responses to “Your health at Safeco Field”

  1. Matt on September 12th, 2004 8:30 am

    WOW….that is pretty bad. I’ve worked at the Safe as a volunteer, and you do have to go to a two hour food preparation class, take a test, and get a food handlers card. Plus, I went to NYY on the 13th and sat in the Hit it Here Cafe, when I got home after the game I was throwing up like crazy. Everyone at my table had the samethings to eat except me, I had the burger and it hit me hard later on. Now I’ll be sure to bring my own food to the next game I go to.

  2. Adam J. Morris on September 12th, 2004 12:14 pm

    Not to be critical, but if you eat sushi at the ballpark, it seems like you might be of playing with fire anyway.

  3. Derek Lamarr on September 12th, 2004 12:42 pm

    Since you mentioned McDonalds…

    The food handling at SafeCo is pretty good compared to most fast food places you eat at. The violations in that post where rather minor. Some of the more extreme instances I’ve seen is when the grill wasn’t getting hot enough at the McDonalds on 79th & Evergreen in Everett, and therefore the hamburgers were still somewhat raw. They were served for the rest of the night anyways. I could be wrong, but I believe it was a couple days before the grill was fixed. Food storage on the floor probobly means boxed food sitting on the floor. McDonalds employees have been known to drop food on the floor, then serve it. Handwashing regulations require employees to wash their hands once per hour. Most fast food employees never wash their hands, except at the start of a shift. SafeCo isn’t the greatest place to eat, health-wise, but it could be a lot worse.

  4. IceX on September 12th, 2004 1:26 pm

    Also, the numbers can be quite skewed, because food inspectors have to pin points on almost anything, even when it’s quite minor like leaving a can of ketchup outside or something.

    KIRO TV ran a misinformed bit of “Investigative” reporting about these same scores that severely damaged business in Chinatown and some other areas, but they were interpreted wrong too, so they’re not very easy to read and I also advise not flipping them around as if they’re the word of gods.

    I’ve heard that places like Roy’s and the Metropolitan Grill also have very high pointage, so it’s not exactly uncommon for stores to suffer this. Sushi places are also quite common because of the volume they have to work and the fact that when you open and close refrigerators, the temperature inside of them rises. Obviously be worried when your favorite sandwich place or sushi place has infractions like “No Hand Soap in Bathrooms”, but if there’s ones like “Ingredients Left On Table” for a Chinese restaurant, it probably doesn’t matter as much.

  5. David J Corcoran on September 12th, 2004 2:41 pm

    I worked at a summer camp for a long time. We only abided by health codes when the inspector was there. Otherwise, we were awful, we kept the place real dirty, we never washed our hands/used gloves/etc, we put dirty dishes on the clean side…etc.

  6. johnb on September 12th, 2004 4:14 pm

    What does this really have to do with baseball? Food service at any major stadium is always a little scary. If you order Sushi at a Safeco you’re out of your mind! Stick with a dag that has been sterilized in the steamer!

  7. Matt on September 12th, 2004 5:57 pm

    The Choir at my highschool routinely worked the concessions at Safeco as a means of raising funds for trips. This alone was enough knowledge to keep me from eating most of the concessions there…

  8. Pete on September 12th, 2004 6:08 pm

    Your original post touches on one of the things that creases me most about the safe — those worhtless volunteer organizations that work the food stand. They have no @#^@$&! motivation to perform their duties well. What’s more, I’m sure that the decrease in operating costs for the ballpark is not something that translates into higher payroll, cheaper concessions, or reduced ticket prices, no doubt it’s lining someone’s pocket. Resonates well with something Jr. said in ’99, after sitting out a mid-season exibition game the Mariners had scheduled against a AA team on an offday — that ‘ts yet another example of how the management of this organization is second-rate all the way.

  9. Pete on September 12th, 2004 6:13 pm

    Where are the Meche pessimists? What’s that I hear?…oh, nothing…

  10. Pete M on September 12th, 2004 6:43 pm

    many Petes … believe it or not those two posts are from different people. This Pete likes Meche, if he can be had at a reasonable price. This Pete wants to see more of what he saw today. But this Pete, he who hates volunteer concessionaires, does not want Meche next year if he costs $4-5M.

  11. Shawns on September 12th, 2004 6:45 pm

    What’s disturbing about this topic is that most every restaraunt you might go to is the same way (whether the health department has caught it in the act or not). Having worked at as a cook at several restaraunts, I simply recomend not thinking about it, because I guarantee you everywhere is the same, so unless you want to get really paranoid and only eat at home, just DONT THINK ABOUT IT…
    ..our bodies are amazingly good at protecting us

  12. G-Man on September 12th, 2004 7:18 pm

    I have read some Washington State health department reports on restaurants, and I found most of my favorites had a few problems. In fact, IIRC, lots of places had a few black marks. I’d think twice if I saw some really terrible stuff reported, but otherwise, grin and eat it.

    On the subject of basball, Gil Meche’s arm will soon fall off. They are afraid of overworking George Sherril, but not Gil. Sheesh.

  13. The REAL Trent on September 12th, 2004 8:02 pm

    Why no posts about Meche’s great game? I think he’s washed up, I don’t know about you guys. 🙂

  14. Pete on September 12th, 2004 9:47 pm

    This is the real Pete. I was here first – not putting adding an initial. So there.

    But I’m also a Meche-man. Go Gil!