View Full Version : State Fair Food- ever gotten sick?

09-14-2004, 10:57 PM
It's always good to know that the food we're eating at the State Fair is at least halfway safe to eat. I knew the health department did inspections but I never knew they stuck around and monitored throughout the entire fair.

Has anyone ever gotten sick from state fair food? If so, from what?

Just curious.

I guess I'm in luck, because I've never gotten sick from fair food. Of course I usually eat the same things year after year, but there's still always a chance.

"Vendors monitored

By Jim Killackey
The Oklahoman

More than two dozen health inspectors will be on duty throughout the 11-day run of the Oklahoma State Fair, and fairgoers who have complaints or questions about food can call a new cell phone hot line, 550-5069.
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More than 125 food and drink locations with more than 500 vendors will be open Thursday, the fair’s first day, and through Sept. 26.

All food and drink vendors are at designated sites that are inspected before the fair begins and monitored thereafter, said Gina Ritter, state fair assistant general manager.

Street vendors and peddlers aren’t allowed, fair and local health department officials said.

Today, Oklahoma City-County Health Department inspectors will attempt to inspect each vendor to determine whether they are licensed by the city and health department.

Also today, basic food-handling classes will be conducted by local health department officials at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., said Marla Sweaney, environmental specialist for the health department.

“We hope to have a good, clean and safe state fair. That’s what we want, that’s our goal,” Sweaney said Tuesday.

Fairgrounds treated like restaurant

Health inspectors, Sweaney said, treat the fairgrounds as one big restaurant, monitoring temperatures and watching for any cross-contaminations as they would for about 4,800 metro-area eateries inspected annually.

For example, Sweaney said, raw meat and lettuce should never be cut with the same knife. A cross-contamination could occur, she said, if drippings from raw chicken went into ice cream.

Health officials also look closely at pest control, general sanitation or any abuses of proper food cooking or storing temperatures.

Personal hygiene is critical, Sweaney said. All food handlers are required to wear plastic gloves while preparing and serving, with only a few exceptions.

All food must be from approved sources, and each food booth must have hot and cold running water.

Operating in shifts, the health department will have 20 inspectors at the fair today, a dozen on duty during weekdays and all 25 agency food inspectors on duty during the fair’s two weekends.

“We are always strict,” Sweaney said of health department regulations on how fair food is stored, prepared and served.

In past years, the health department has shut down food vendors for a day or two if electricity or running water is lost. Citations have been few.

“The likelihood of incidents involving food safety are rare. The health department does a fabulous job of inspecting on the front end” before the fair opens, Ritter said.

There is one new food-and-drink requirement this year. Food booths or drink stands that blend food and liquids, or vendors that make snow cones or slush drinks, must be surrounded by screens to prevent contamination from bugs and dirt. "