'Critical' health violations up 600% at Busch Stadium in 2012

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 12 at 11:28 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Today is the first day of Spring Training for the Cardinals, but when fans head back to Busch Stadium for baseball season, there is some concern over whether the food they will eat is safe.

A review of health inspection records revealed a troubling trend: critical violations are on the rise at Busch Stadium.

In 2009 health inspectors found just five critical violations of the health code for food preparation at Busch.

In 2012 the number was up 600 percent. However, the Health Department changed the rules for what constitutes a critical violation in 2010 which caused more things to be categorized as critical that weren’t before.

Even with the adjustment, in 2012, health department workers inspected the fifty concession stands at Busch two times and recorded 35 critical violations. I asked the Health Inspectors Supervisor Pat Mahoney defines critical violation as, “If it’s not corrected it can lead to a food borne illness”

The critical violations in 2012 fell in to these major categories: Improper temperatures on refrigerators, refrigerators that didn’t work properly, no paper towels at a sink for washing hands, sanitizers to clean surfaces were too strong and mold in ice machines.

A company called Sportservice is the food service provider for the stadium. Chef Norman Taylor says they take any health code violation seriously.

“We’ve had nothing less than an a rating since Busch opened and have strived to keep our health department score above a 95,” he said.

A critical violation will reduce the overall score given by inspectors but it takes numerous violations to lead to a failing score.

Chef taylor said they respond quickly to correct violations which the Health Department confirms.

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