High-level health code violations found at Nats Park, FedEx Field

Ben Krimmel
December 13, 2018 - 1:46 pm
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Fans at Nationals Park and FedEx Field may have been exposed to foodborne illnesses due to unsafe and unclean food service outlets.

A number of high-level health violations were found at both Nats Park and FedEx Field during 2016 and 2017, according to an ESPN analysis of health department reports. The two venues ranked among those with the highest violation rates in the country.

In an analysis by Outside the Lines, ESPN reviewed more than 16,000 food-safety inspection reports from local health departments monitoring 111 NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL venues in 2016 and 2017. The investigation found "at about 28 percent of the venues, half or more of the food service outlets incurred a high-level violation -- one that poses a potential threat for foodborne illness."

At Nationals Park, inspections took place at 27 outlets and high-level violations were found at 14.

During a Sept. 4, 2016 visit, inspectors observed mold on a panel on an ice machine. And on April 4, 2017, day-old sauce was being held at 65 degrees, nearly 20 degrees warmer than cold foods should be kept at to prevent foodborne illness.

At FedEx Field, 80 outlets were inspected and 38 were found to have high-level violations. 

While conducting a follow-up inspection in November 2016, inspectors noted prior violations had been corrected, but "compliance was not satisfactory" as a container with raw chicken was stored among ready-to-eat foods on the same prep table. Inspectors also noted "unpleasant odor" coming from the restrooms.o noted an "unpleasant odor" coming from the restrooms. 

Nats Park ranked 81st and FedEx Field 71st out of 107 ranked by ESPN. (Capital One Arena, home of the Capitals and Wizards, was not ranked by ESPN as there were no inspections completed in 2016 and just six in 2017.)

Venues in Baltimore both scored better in the rankings, with 15 high-level violations found in 96 outlets at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and only eight outlets with high-level violations out of 72 inspected at the Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium.

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