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Behind the Kitchen Door

Officials say Mizzou football games COVID-19 safe, but concession stand violations increase

Faurot Field Entrance 10-17
KMIZ
Faurot Field, seen here on Oct. 17, 2020.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Both Mizzou Athletics and the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services said the Tigers' home football games have adhered to COVID-19 guidelines.

"We haven't seen any indication that the games have led to greater spread of the virus," said Scott Clardy, the health department's assistant director.

However, food code violations at Memorial Stadium concession stands have increased. Inspectors have found 68 violations this year compared with 52 violations at the first three University of Missouri home games in 2019.

Graphic: Faurot Field food inspections. Click on the numbers to see the results of concession stand inspections.

Kyla Dunn is the sanitarian with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at MU. She conducted each inspection on Sept. 28, Oct. 12 and again last Monday.

"We go through every single stand, every single warehouse, every single kitchen and look to see and make sure that they are following the procedures and policies that we have in place to make sure that everybody's safe and taken care of," Dunn said.

Memorial Stadium typically has 20 concession stands. Stand 15 had the most violations, with a total of five at the first three home games combined.

Other inspected areas of the stadium include warehouses, bars and grills, and kitchens, among others. Dunn said that larger areas like these often have a greater number of violations.

"Some of the areas that have larger menus and more offerings, and more people working, are just more susceptible to have violations because they have a lot more things that they have to get done and follow," Dunn said.

Two locations in these areas each had seven violations, the most of any vendor: The Third Floor Kitchen and SEZ Memorial Stadium Storage and Concessions.

Among the violations Dunn flagged at Stand 15 are employees not knowing holding times and the temperature process for foods, along with multiple workers not wearing hair restraints.

Dunn found mold on the ice machine and visibly dirty washcloths in the Third Floor Kitchen. She also noted multiple food items at the wrong temperatures. At SEZ Memorial Stadium Storage and Concessions, Dunn observed food at the wrong temperature and a warming unit filled with food that was left unplugged in the hallway.

Levy Restaurants manages all aspects of food and beverage service at Memorial Stadium. Ed Gilaty, the senior vice president of risk management and sanitation at the company, said the company corrected all violations.

"Separate from our COVID-19 practices, we were made aware of inspection results from the University of Missouri’s Environmental Health and Safety Department following a routine visit and have corrected all violations. We welcome the additional guidance on our practices and the findings are addressed immediately."

Ed Gilaty, Levy Restaurants

Mizzou Athletics has several COVID-19 safety guidelines in place for concession stands, including:

  • Plexiglass or attendant with a face shield at checkouts
  • “Grab and Go” options offered at all locations
  • All condiments offered in single-serve containers
  • All portable stands placed to ensure social distancing
  • Face coverings for all staff
  • Gloves for all food and beverage staff

MU officials are also encouraging customers to use credit cards rather than cash.

Levy works with MU to enforce COVID-19 guidelines.

"Before entering the stadium, each team member delivering hospitality completes training on COVID-19 protocols, as well as a COVID-19 health screening," Gilaty said. "In order to reinforce our protocols, managers strictly monitor team members before gates open and throughout the game."

Officials at MU Environmental Health and Safety said the food code that is followed during inspections is related to COVID-19 safety as well.

"Ultimately, food safety is food safety," Dunn said. "Those things where hand washing was important before, it's important now."

ABC 17 News Investigates / Coronavirus / News / Top Stories / University of Missouri
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Molly Stawinoga

Molly Stawinoga is ABC 17’s weekday morning anchor and a reporter at ABC 17 News. Molly joined the news team in 2017 while studying political science, journalism and Spanish at the University of Missouri. She is originally from DeKalb, Illinois.

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