Mold, mice, bugs among unsanitary conditions found at Arrowhead, - KCTV5

Mold, mice, bugs among unsanitary conditions found at Arrowhead, Kauffman stadiums

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Health inspectors found the concession stands at Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums so unsanitary earlier this month that they were ordered shut down.

An employee for the concession stand operator claims that the conditions were so bad that fans attending the World Series games at Kauffman were at risk to get sick from consuming food and beverages.

That employee's complaint prompted the inspections by the Kansas City Health Department on the Monday after the Royals lost Game 7 at the K to the San Francisco Giants. 

Dozens of violations were found and the concession stands shut down until corrective actions were taken.

The Chiefs played the Buffalo Bills in New York last week. The concession stands were reinspected on Monday and given the OK. The Arrowhead concession stands are expected to operate as normal on Sunday as the Chiefs face the Seattle Seahawks.

Aramark, which operates the concession stands at the Truman Sports Complex, blamed the issues on a disgruntled employee and said the company takes food safety quite seriously.

Jon Costa, a food safety manager for Aramark, said he spoke out because his employer repeatedly failed to take the steps to protect customers.

"I didn't run to the media for help. I tried to fix it first for two years," Costa said. "I'm very passionate about this. I don't know where I can go."

The details in the dozens of pages by the health inspectors are not for the squeamish. Mold was found growing on ice machines, food wasn't properly labeled or stored, mouse feces were on the same tray as pizza dough, cockroaches were an issue and employees who failed to follow sanitary procedures, trash was on the floor and utensils weren't clean.

The unsanitary conditions at the stadiums were first reported by ESPN's Outside the Lines. Tod MacKenzie, senior vice president of communications and public affairs for Aramark, focused on Costa in his statement to ESPN.

"The unsubstantiated claims raised by a disgruntled employee are very troubling, as is his unknown motivation," MacKenzie wrote. "Especially disturbing is the fact that this individual is personally responsible and entrusted with managing food safety at the locations in question... The random collection of isolated and questionable photographs that the employee distributed represents selective snapshot 'moments-in-time' that without proper context can support any number of conclusions."

Costa's photos showed a cat caught in a cage, dirty water in the hot dog steamer, cockroaches and other issues.

In addition to Costa's photos, the municipal health department also took dozens of photos revealing the unsanitary conditions.

In its statement, Aramark noted that the concession stands were now cleared to operate.

"Food safety is a top priority that we take very seriously," Aramark said. "Our food safety processes and procedures are industry leading and issues are raised, we fix them quickly."

According to Aramark, the company undertakes frequent internal inspections and hire independent third-party auditors to "objectively evaluate our practices." The stadiums were evaluated twice in the past 30 days.

The Chiefs and Royals, which hire Aramark, said the company is a valued partner and play an important role in the experience of fans.

But Costa maintains that Aramark isn't doing enough for the fans. The 40-year-old who worked for Aramark for 2.5 years has been suspended for speaking to the media about his claims.

"The fans need to be the jury here. The fans deserve good wholesome food that is honestly presented. They need to be the jury," Costa said. "They need to determine if I'm just a disgruntled employee."

He said he understands that he may never work at the stadiums again, but he said the fans are what is important.

"I want the fans to return to the stadium. I want them to get what they paid for: good, quality food. And the utmost important is I want it to be safe," Costa said.

The health department inspects the 100 concession stands at Arrowhead and the 80 concession stands at Kauffman two to three time a year. The health department says it doesn't have the staff to do more regular checks.

If you purchase food at a stadium concession stand, the health department recommends paying attention to whether the hot food isn't hot or the cold food isn't cold. If it's not, then send it back and speak up.

Statement from Aramark Kansas City:

Food safety is a top priority that we take very seriously. On Monday, November 10, 2014, the Kansas City Health Department re-visited our operations at both Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums and reported no issues or violations.

Our food safety processes and procedures are industry leading and if issues are raised, we fix them quickly. In addition to working with the Kansas City Health Department, Aramark also conducts frequent internal inspections and takes the added step of engaging independent third-party auditors to objectively evaluate our practices. An independent auditor evaluated both locations in Kansas City twice in the past 30 days.

In Kansas City we serve millions of fans every year and have a strong record of performance in food safety at both sites. This year the Kansas City Health Department recognized our operations at each stadium with its Grade ‘A' Food Safety Excellence Award.

Our commitment to food safety and these standards applies everywhere we operate.

To learn more,

Statement from the Kansas City Royals:

We take great pride in promoting an atmosphere at Kauffman Stadium that Royals fans of all ages can enjoy. The excitement and energy running through the stadium was on full display during the World Series and our partners, including Aramark, play an important role in creating those memories. Food and beverage is integral to the fan experience and Aramark has been a valued partner in delivering those services to fans. We all take food service, safety and quality very seriously.

Statement from the Kansas City Chiefs:

Arrowhead Stadium is home to some of the most enthusiastic, supportive and loud fans in all of football. We're continually looking for new ways to enhance the fan experience and, for the past four seasons, we have partnered with Aramark to transform and elevate our general concession areas. The food and beverage service and selections delivered by Aramark are important parts of the Arrowhead experience.

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