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Victory Field corrects critical food safety violations after health department inspection

Food not properly heated, employee didn't wash hands among the violations
Posted at 6:35 PM, Jul 17, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Victory Field, the home of the Indianapolis Indians, was cited by the Marion County Public Health Department for eight food safety violations, including three critical violations—the type that can make you sick.

Records show health officials performed a routine inspection on June 12, as the Indians hosted the Buffalo Bisons with a crowd of more than 11,000 people.

Critical violations:

  • Hot dogs in a warmer were not kept warm enough—health inspectors noted the meat was at 125-129 degrees; health code says the food needs to be held at 135 degrees or hotter
  • Employee did not wash hands after being on cell phone
  • Unapproved food contact materials including an igloo cooler

Non-Critical violations:

  • Food employees not wearing proper hair restraints
  • Physical structure, walls, floors and/or ceilings soiled
  • Cold and hot holding equipment used to store potentially hazardous food is not equipped with at least one thermometer that is located to allow easy viewing of the temperature display
  • Plumbing system(s) not maintained in good repair
  • In use utensil(s) stored improperly

A spokesperson for the Indianapolis Indians said the problems were corrected on site during the inspection, and other items were addressed immediately.

Aramark, the ball park’s food service provider, also provided a statement to Call 6 Investigates.

“The well-being of our fans is a top priority,” read the statement. “We take food safety very seriously and we work closely with our partners on an ongoing basis to ensure the food served at Victory Field is of the highest quality and served in the safest environments.”

Suzanne Mouser, a supervisor with the health department’s Food & Consumer Safety division, said critical violations are the ones that can cause food borne illness.

“A non-critical violation is less serious, but could still contribute to pest control issues or eventually a food borne illness,” said Mouser. “Critical violations are the ones we are really focused on.”

Mouser said employees on cellphones is becoming more and more common.

"We all know that our cellphones have a lot of bacteria on them,” said Mouser. “So, we want to be careful if someone needs to make a call they will take their gloves off, take the call, wash their hands, and then put clean gloves on."

Hot foods should be kept at 135 degrees or above and cold foods below 41 degrees.

"That is one of the major risk factors for food borne illness,” said Mouser. “Bacteria grows in the temperature danger zone which is 41 on the low side to 135. Bacteria loves to grow in meat."

Mouser said any violations that Victory Field could correct at the inspection were corrected, and the health department will follow up in another inspection later this year.

“We try to do two routine inspections at Victory field during their short season,” said Mouser.

For food establishments that do not fix violations, they can lose their license to serve food, get a ticket or fine, or even end up in court.

Stadiums like Victory Field, Lucas Oil, and Bankers Life are typically inspected every six months and during an event or game.

“The routine inspections are always a surprise,” said Mouser.

Some restaurants are inspected every four months, depending on how they prepare and serve food.

The health department will also respond if they get a complaint about a food establishment.

If someone reports they’ve been sick after eating at a restaurant, that will take top priority.

“We respond to all complaints within 24 hours,” said Mouser. “Of course, the priority is the illness complaints. We want to get right out there and see if this could be a food borne illness.”

If you have a complaint about a food establishment in Marion County, you can call the health department at 317-221-2222.

Click here to look up inspection reports for your favorite restaurant.

“It would be rare for a food establishment to have no violations, because we’re all human and we all make mistakes,” said Mouser.

Mouser said if a restaurant has repeat violations for improper heating of food and hand washing, that should be considered a red flag.