Eating stadium food could give you a lot more than just heartburn. It could also make you really sick.
A review by ESPN found that mouse droppings, mold on ice and cockroaches crawling over soda dispensers were just a few of the health code violations plaguing the nation’s biggest sports arenas.
The sports network reviewed health department inspection reports from 2009 for food and beverage outlets at all 107 professional arenas and stadiums – home to our favorite baseball, football and hockey teams.
After sorting through the reports, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” tallied up the violations and found at 30 of the venues, more than half of the concession stands or restaurants had been cited for at least one "critical" or "major" health violation.
"[That] tells consumers that they should be very concerned about some of the food that they are eating and purchasing in a lot of these stadiums," Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America, a Washington, D.C., told the network.
Topping the list of the worst rated venue is the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., where 100 percent of its vendors were cited for violations. The biggest culprit was mice droppings, which were found at least 10 vendors. It was the same the story at Tropicana Field in Florida where the Tampa Bay Rays call home.
Six other stadiums in the Sunshine State also failed miserably with 75 to 100 percent of vendors getting cited for violations.
Although there has never been a mass foodborne illness outbreak at a professional stadium, some experts believe we still need more frequent inspections.