There may not be new reports moldy hot dogs, cockroaches or expired pizza dough — which were documented following the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium — but the Royals’ home ballpark still isn’t leading the major leagues in food safety.
In a story published Thursday, Kauffman ranked 17th among 28 big-league stadiums with a rating of 1.67 in Sports Illustrated’s MLB Ballpark Food Safety Rankings. Detroit’s Comerica Park and Cleveland’s Progressive Field were not included in the report.
This season, 37 of 87 Kauffman Stadium vendors have been cited with at least one critical violation, according to the City of Kansas City Health Department database. That’s down 20 percent from seven years ago, when an ESPN report found 62 percent of vendors had at least one critical violation.
Despite the improvement, 16 ballparks were ranked higher by SI, which created a metric based on the results of inspections. Seattle’s Safeco Field leads the majors with a safety rating of .08. The New York Mets’ Citi Field is just above Kauffman in 16th place, with a 1.63 rating.
In all, from late March to the most recent homestand, concessions stands at Kauffman Stadium, which are operated by Aramark, have received 80 critical violations.
One of the most serious violations found by The Star in the health department database was at the Crown Club, which in April was cited for having raw meat stored above ready-to-eat foods in a cooler. Crown Club, one of 10 vendors to commit critical violations on more than one occasion, was cited Monday for storing broken knives in a knife holder.
The vast majority of the critical violations include sanitation or plumbing problems — like leaking sinks or dishwashers, buildup on beverage dispensers, improper concentrations for cleaning solutions and instances of uncovered drinks in food preparation areas. One of the citations examined by SI this spring included bare-handed handling of sandwiches at the Diamond Club Deli Stand on April 10, the day of the Royals’ home opener.
Issues with food temperature abound, too. Stands like Hot Corner Grill, Royals All-Star Barbeque and Crown Classics have been found to lay out hot dogs, sausages, chili, baked beans and hamburgers that weren’t heated to food code temperatures of 135 degrees or higher. In instances like those, employees were instructed to reheat food to 165 degrees.
There was only one issue with pest control. Spider webs were found under a sink at a Boulevard Classics stand on April 11.
“The well-being of fans is our top priority,” Aramark said in a statement. “We take food safety very seriously and the comprehensive processes we have implemented at Kauffman Stadium have been recognized by the health department. We continue to work closely with our partners on an ongoing basis to ensure the food served at the ballpark is of the highest quality and served in the safest environments.”