Inspectors Find 21 Critical Violations At Soldier Field Food Vendors

CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands of people will be headed to the Bears game on Sunday. But, before digging into a Polish or an Italian beef, consider what health inspectors recently found.

After CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reported that inspections never occurred on game days, the city changed its policy and, for the first time, the agency has been inspecting sports venues on game days.

Recently, Chicago health inspectors checked out Soldier Field as part of its new effort to get a more accurate picture of food safety.

The inspection report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that many Soldier Field concessions passed with a condition, that violations get corrected.

In all, inspectors found 21 critical violations that could have potentially made fans sick. They included eight cases of food kept at unsafe temperatures — either not cold enough or hot enough to protect against a food borne illness; three cases of vendors that had broken heating or cooling devices; and several instances of employees not having access to running water, soap or paper towels.

CBS 2 showed the report to Kantha Shelke, an independent food safety consultant.

“If you don’t have sanitizing liquid and water to wash the hands, every food item that is handled is potentially contaminated and has the potential to make someone else sick,” Shelke said.

Health inspectors made concessionaires throw out more than 55 lbs of chicken, sausage and beef that didn’t meet temperature standards.

“It appears that the most significant violation really is the improper temperature, both for hot foods and cold foods,” Shelke said.

Several concessions had multiple critical violations, including the Gridiron Grill #431, the Grandstand #439, the Grill #302, and the second floor Club.

“It’s appalling that food operations at a prestigious family venue like Soldier Field would even do something like this, and have these violations,” Shelke said.

All of the Soldier Field food concessions are operated by Chicago Sportservice, owned by Deleware North Companies.

“Food safety is a top priority,” a company spokesman said in a written statement. “We are proud of our record in serving great food to thousands of fans at Bears games and other events.”

The spokesman said the company makes ongoing investments in equipment and training its staff in proper food safety. “We are diligent in monitoring our staff during games,” he added.

He said company managers worked closely with the city health inspectors to address the violations. A number were corrected “on the spot and all have now been addressed,” he said.

Twenty out of the 57 concessions inspected by the city did not have any violations.

You can see the full inspection report by clicking here.

More from Pam Zekman
  • U want fries with that

    Anywhere there’s food at a venue, there’s gonna be problems either behind the counter or right out in the open.

    A few years ago at Sox Park, an Italian sausage vendor had the peppers in a dirty tupperware container with no tongs and peppers all over the counter and on the floor.

    We were so disgusted by the mess, we let him know & he ignored us and yelled “NEXT IN LINE, STEP UP!!!”

    We videotaped it, too.


    • Lee Bean

      Ugh that’s disgusting but what can you say, it’s the life of the ball park. Sad but true.

  • LOTD

    No suprise. Afterall what do you expect with the “bargain” prices these @ ss holes charge!!?? Price gouging b@ st ards!!

  • Border Agent 69

    Why don’t the city go after all the ILLEGAL food vendors in Brighton Park,McKinley Park,Pilsen and the Back of the Yard neighborhoods selling everything. I’m sure Soldier Field Food Vendors are cleaner then these people I see peeing in the alley and digging in their noses without clean water.Step up to the Plate Rahm enforce the laws go after them avoiding taxes and license.

  • Joanne

    Thank goodness we tailgate and rarely eat in the stadium. Prices are outragious and tasteless. Only things I have eaten are Nachos or a soft pretzel. I don’t even drink – beer is $8.50 each and most people tip the vendors in the seats.. end up paying $10 a beer.
    I think the people that wait on you in the concessions are volunteers- a few years ago when my son was in boyscouts we were offered to work the concessions and we could make some money for our troop. Not sure if they still offer this, but when you have people working the concessions that are not foodservice trained you are asking for trouble.

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