T.O. cleans up in stadium stats

DON PEAT AND IAN ROBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

Hot dog!

Toronto's sports teams may not be cleaning up in their respective leagues, but when it comes to food vendor cleanliness inside stadiums, Hogtown tops North America's major league venues.

According to an Entertainment Sports Programming Network report Monday, Air Canada Centre and Rogers Centre vendors had no critical health violations.

That puts the home of the Jays and the shared abode of the Maple Leafs and Raptors in a league almost by themselves -- only 11 arenas scored top marks -- among 107 sports stadiums and arenas examined by ESPN.

"I do feel for my counterparts in the other venues," said Bob Hunter, of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.

ESPN says its data came from 2009 health inspection reports of North American MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL venues. But critics said inspections vary between provinces and states, raising questions about the report's methodology and accuracy.

The report cited improper handwashing, dirty utensils, staff scooping ice with bare hands, rodents, roaches, mould and stale food.

In one case, three bars in the Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colo., were abuzz with fruit flies in whiskey bottles.

Hunter expressed pride in leading the pack, with no health violations at the ACC.

"It's expensive," he said, adding MLSE paid $20 million for the ACC's equipment and constantly upgrades food service equipment.

In an e-mail, Richard Wong, v-p of operations at Rogers Centre, said "we take great pride in our uncompromising desire to deliver on, and exceed, the food safety guidelines."

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AIR CANADA CENTRE

Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs

Vendors with critical violations: 0%

Inspection report excerpt:

No critical or major violations.

BELL CENTRE

Montreal Canadiens

Vendors with critical violations: 3%

Inspection report excerpt: Food found at an improper temperature.

REXALL PLACE

Edmonton Oilers

Vendors with critical violations: 25%

Inspection report excerpt: At one location, workers used contaminated cleaning items.

PENGROWTH SADDLEDOME

Calgary Flames

Vendors with critical violations: 14%

Inspection report excerpt: Utensils and equipment at one location were not being cleaned and sanitized properly.

ROGERS CENTRE

Toronto Blue Jays

Vendors with critical violations: 0%

Inspection report excerpt: No critical or major violations.

SCOTIABANK PLACE

Ottawa Senators

Vendors with critical violations: 0%

Inspection report excerpt: No critical or major violations.

GENERAL MOTORS PLACE

Vancouver Canucks

Vendors with critical violations: 9%

Inspection report excerpt: A sushi display cooler was malfunctioning, and the temperature of the sushi rose above safe levels. Inspectors also cautioned one stand regarding properly heating donairs, which have been tied to E. coli outbreaks elsewhere in Canada.

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U.S. ARENAS DIDN'T EXACTLY HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK

AMERICAN AIRLINES ARENA

Miami Heat

Vendors with critical violations: 93%

Inspection report excerpt: Critical violations included several safety issues related to electrical wiring and such equipment as gas boilers.

FORD FIELD

Detroit Lions

Vendors with critical violations: 70%

Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors cited one location 11 times in the past six years after seeing employees who didn't wash their hands. At another stand, they found an employee's half-eaten hamburger in a warming unit.

HEINZ FIELD

Pittsburgh Steelers

Vendors with critical violations: 61%

Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors found employees lacking in overall food-safety knowledge after observing a worker washing his hands with his gloves on. Another location had a carton of milk that had expired 10 days before.

SUN LIFE STADIUM

Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins

Vendors with critical violations: 93%

Inspection report excerpt: In June 2009, an employee complained that insects and debris were blended into frozen alcoholic beverages at a stand where equipment wasn't being cleaned. Inspectors issued a critical violation for slime buildup inside the machine.

TROPICANA FIELD

Tampa Bay Rays

Vendors with critical violations: 100%

Inspection report excerpt: Several violations addressed dirty countertops, utensils and equipment. Although every report indicated a critical violation, all vendors met basic inspection standards to keep operating.

VERIZON CENTER

Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals

Vendors with critical violations: 100%

Inspection report excerpt: Mice droppings, a critical violation in Washington, were found at 10 vendors.

Source: ESPN.com


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