Sports stadiums are well known for their unhealthy food options, crowded restrooms and intoxicated guests, but it is not often that we hear about wild animal infestations or incidents as occurring within sports stadiums. However, a recent report issued by ESPN Concerning food safety in sports stadiums repeatedly made mention of issues involving wild animals. The report analyzed more than 16,000 food safety inspection documents from the local health departments that were responsible for 111 sporting venues during the years of 2016 and 2017. Many of these documents describe rodent infestations near food storage areas within stadiums. Mice were among the most common of the many wild animals that have been found causing mischief within stadiums. In some cases, mice infestations compromised the safety of stadium food.
Mice infestations, mice feces and live cockroaches were among the most alarming of health violations that were recorded as occurring within America’s sports stadiums. Sports stadiums located in Denver, Colorado racked up a significant amount of animal-related health violations. For example, Broncos Stadium was found to contain 50 rodent droppings beneath one pallet of beer in the main kitchen. Coors Field was also notable for the gross amount of rodent droppings found on the premises. The stadium has long struggled with mice infestations, and inspectors found “thousands of accumulated mice feces” near food storage areas within the stadium. Inspectors also found bags of chips and chocolate chips that were riddled with holes made by mice attempting to access the food within the packaging. One dead and decaying mouse corpse was found near a hot water heater and a live mouse was found near the popcorn area. The entire stadium was littered with pest feces and numerous nests that had been made by mice were also found within the stadium. What is perhaps most disgusting are the numerous food items that had been contaminated with mouse feces. At Coors Field, inspectors also found mice droppings on food-prep trays, within a bin of rice and even within cookie bags that had been accessed by mice. The cookies contained within were found to be partially chewed by rodents. So the next time you decide to go to the ballgame, you may want to smuggle your own snacks into the stadium.
Do you think that sports stadiums are poorly regulated when it comes to preventing rodent infestations from compromising the safety of food?