Yael T. Abouhalkah

Fake complaints about Kauffman Stadium food hurt Royals, Aramark and taxpayers

Kansas City officials say they have investigated two fake complaints recently about unsafe food being served at Royals games at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City officials say they have investigated two fake complaints recently about unsafe food being served at Royals games at Kauffman Stadium. File photo

The Kansas City Royals are attracting fans in record numbers to Kauffman Stadium this year — and some of those fans are finding plenty to complain about when it comes to eating there.

The situation has forced concession operator Aramark to defend its practices and try to persuade people that the high-priced food at Kauffman is also safe to eat. After all, the cost of bad publicity about the food can lead to a direct hit on the bottom line.

However, it turns out some of the recent criticism of Aramark’s food operations was fake.

Kudos to the Kansas City Health Department for doing the investigations needed to look into the matters and to publicize its findings.

On Monday, the department said that “within the last week, food inspectors have responded to two fraudulent food safety complaints made at Kauffman Stadium.”

These fake claims have at least three negative effects.

▪ They unfairly harm the reputation of Aramark and, indirectly, of the Royals.

▪ They waste taxpayer dollars, as noted by Naser Jouhari, environmental health services division manager for the city.

▪ And they divert city resources from looking into more legitimate complaints about possibly unsafe food being served to the public.

The city reports that one fake complaint came through the city’s 311 Action Center line from someone purporting to be an Aramark employee. “The Health Department uncovered the false claim when following-up with the employee; in this case it was discovered that the person’s identity was deliberately misrepresented,” the city said.

The second came in a tweet to the Health Department which “posted a photo of unsafe food allegedly served at Kauffman Stadium. Further investigation determined the photo was lifted from an unrelated Florida news story and falsely represented as food served at Kauffman Stadium.”

Understandably, Aramark officials are upset about the unsubstantiated complaints, as are Royals officials.

Health Department officials on Monday re-affirmed their commitment to look into concerns about food being served anywhere in Kansas City.

But when people cry “wolf” while claiming food is unsafe at Kauffman, that doesn’t help the city’s cause.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

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