August 16, 2018

Sixty-One Vendors at the New York State Fair Cited for Critical Violations

Sixty-one vendors at the New York State Fair were cited for serious violations, according to Syracuse.com. The violations were for problems and issues that can cause foodborne illness. That paper submitted a request for the violations at the New York State Fair with a Freedom of Information Act request.

New York State Fair Vendor Citations

Two complaints of ill persons were investigated at the fair last year, but were “unsubstantiated,” according to the report. The 100 violations were rated as “critical.” These types of violations involve cooking, storage temperatures, the condition of food, or the source of the food. They may also be linked to water and sewage, presence of pests, use of toxic materials, and the sanitary practices of food workers.

Officials also found 371 non-critical violations at the New York State Fair, which may not cause foodborne illness but could “negatively affect the operation of the restaurant.” The paper lists the violations under the vendor’s name.

The violations under the law included foods that were stored in such a way that may permit cross-contamination, and foods that may be contaminated by dirty equipment. Some of the violations included vendors not washing their hands thoroughly, potentially hazardous food stored at improper temperatures, improper disposal of sewage and liquid waste, toxic items improperly stored, food thermometers not available or not used, and food from unapproved sources.

There have been many food poisoning outbreaks linked to fairs in the past. Many of them have been linked to barn animals, but some have also been linked to foods.

An E. coli outbreak at the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, North Dakota in 2015 may have been linked to food. Three children developed E. coli infections, and one was hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication that causes kidney failure. A fair officials in that case said that there was no petting zoo at the event, which has been a common cause of outbreaks, and that contaminated food could have been the source.

A Clostridium perfringens outbreak at the Rifle Rodeo at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Colorado in 2017 sickened about 80 people. An unlicensed vendor served food at a private event at that facility.

Because these events have been marred by food poisoning outbreaks, the CDC issued Food Safety Tips at Fairs and Festivals in 2016. ¬†They offered tips such as inspecting a vendor’s facility before you eat there, and looking at posted inspection reports. One other tip is to wash your hands frequently while you attend these events. If you choose to go to the barns or petting zoos, keep a watchful eye on kids and don’t being any food or pacifiers, sip cups, or bottles into those areas. Make sure that they wash their hands well after leaving bars or petting zoos.

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