OTC: ESPN Blows The Whistle On The K’s & Arrowhead’s Food Provider Aramark

“A cook at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City used a garbage can as a place to hold his ladle when it was not being used.”
Paula Lavigne, reporter, regarding a story broadcast by ESPN’s Outside the Lines on alleged unhealthy food practices at both Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead, ESPN.com GH: Lavigne and ESPN’s Outside the Lines does what they do best with this story – ring the alarm bell loudly and shine a spotlight on the cockroaches. And in this instance – they did that literally. Read on.

“Among the concerns found at the stadiums by the manager: cockroaches in vending areas, mouse feces on the same tray as pizza dough, sinks where employees were supposed to wash their hands being blocked by boxes or trash, employees eating in food prep areas and trays of food headed for customers that measured at unsafe temperatures. The health department found several critical violations, including mold growth in ice machines, dirty pans and trays and excessive numbers of fruit flies.”
Paula Lavigne, reporter, regarding a story broadcast by ESPN’s Outside the Lines, ESPN.com
GH: I don’t think any of this should come as a surprise to anyone who purchases food as an event where they are trying to feed 40,000 people. If the folks out front selling the food are an indication of the work force cooking the food, the mold probably moves faster than those in charge of keeping things sanitary.

“He gave us photographs of boxes of cockroaches…”
Paula Lavigne, ESPN reporter, in an interview with Soren Petro, on photos sent to ESPN from Jon Costa, the district food safety manager for Aramark, 810 AM
GH: Props to Soren for scoring a timely interview with ESPN’s lead reporter on this story. She was very convincing. I have not yet heard an interview with representatives from Aramark, The K or Arrowhead but I am hoping they come off far better live than they did in their prepared press releases…

Arrowhead Stadium“The unsubstantiated claims raised by a disgruntled employee are very troubling, as is his unknown motivation. Especially disturbing is the fact that this individual is personally responsible and entrusted with managing food safety at the locations in question. … The random collection of isolated and questionable photographs that the employee distributed represents selective snapshot ‘moments-in-time’ that without proper context can support any number of conclusions.”
Tod MacKenzie, senior vice president of communications and public affairs for Aramark, responding to the health issues presented by Costa, ESPN.com
GH: “Selective snapshot ‘moments-in-time?’ Uh…Tod, that’s kind of what a photograph is. Unless Costa staged these photos, which appears highly unlikely, MacKenzie should be apologizing and telling us how this is going to change instead of questioning his employee’s motivation.

“We’ve served 3 million or 4 million fans this summer in Kansas City at those two stadiums. And the food is safe, the food is high quality, and there are really no issues.” Marc Bruno, chief operating officer of Aramark Sports and Entertainment, ESPN.com GH: No issues? None? High quality? Since this is obviously not true, it would leads us to not believe the rest of Bruno’s declaration that the food at Kansas City’s Truman Sports Complex is safe.

“After the last (World Series) game he said it looked like the workers just turned off the lights and shut the doors for several days. … Aramark was saying no one was harmed because there wasn’t going to be another game until March.”
Paula Lavigne, 810 AM GH: I might not be eating any hot dogs at The K next April.

“Health department division manager Naser Jouhari said the results were ‘shocking.’ He said his inspectors told him that it looked like Aramark workers ‘just flipped the switch off, and they walked out without doing any cleaning or removing any of the food items.’” Paula Lavigne, 810 AM
GH: Petro announced that Kevin Kietzman will be interviewing Jouhari on his radio show this afternoon. Let’s hope KK handles this interview as a reporter rather than a sensationalistic shock jock. This story appears to have plenty of dirt on its own and doesn’t need KK’s special brand of Jerry Springer spin.

“The main concern is (inviting) all these insects and rodents to the concession stands so they (could) contaminate food service, food contact areas.”
Naser Jouhari, on why it is necessary to clean up the food preparation areas rather than leaving it until March, ESPN.com
GH: Does this even have to be explained???

“We take great pride in promoting an atmosphere at Kauffman Stadium that Royals fans of all ages can enjoy. The excitement and energy running through the stadium was on full display during the World Series and our partners, including Aramark, play an important role in creating those memories. Food and beverage is integral to the fan experience and Aramark has been a valued partner in delivering those services to fans. We all take food service, safety and quality very seriously.”
Royals press release, ESPN.com
GH: That might be the worst press release response I have ever read relating to a serious allegation. It completely avoids the issue and talks about nonsense. Who wrote this nonsense? Aoki?

“We’re continually looking for new ways to enhance the fan experience and, for the past four seasons, we have partnered with Aramark to transform and elevate our general concession areas. The food and beverage service and selections delivered by Aramark are important parts of the Arrowhead experience.”
Chiefs press release, ESPN.com GH: These two press releases are basically nothing more than the Chiefs and Royals standing behind their business partner, Aramark, but refusing to address whether or not these health issues are legit and if so, what their plans are to correct them. It makes me think the Chiefs and Royals do not deserve the quality of fans they have inside our stadiums.

and @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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59 Responses to OTC: ESPN Blows The Whistle On The K’s & Arrowhead’s Food Provider Aramark

  1. dohn joe says:

    Who cares? We went to the World fucking Series. I’ve been eating at the K my entire life and havent vomited sober since 1976. The food is fine. People need to quit being such bitches.

  2. Joe Blow says:

    Wow, a “Dirty Dining” segment. This is what we’re reduced to?

  3. Brummy says:

    Does this mean the trip to London is off?

  4. Juan Pablo's Douche says:

    I think I found a hair on my mushroom swiss burger.

  5. Johnny Utah says:

    Anyone who has eaten there and seen the workers at either stadium should find this very credible. I love how both teams refuse to apologize. I’m surprised they didn’t blame the fans.

  6. Joe Blow says:

    I always love when people are shocked about dirty kitchens in commercial restaurants. How clean is your kitchen at all times? Ever eaten at a friend’s house?

    • Juan Pablo's Douche says:

      I know and think of all the people out there who have sex in their kitchens. I bet they don’t think twice of picking up a slice of salami that fell on that floor after their budy Juan Pablo blew his load all over.

  7. Matt says:

    The outrage is hysterical. Is this bad news? Sure it is. Now, let’s go look at any place all you schmucks eat at on an everyday basis and see their violations as well. But ESPN doesn’t care about Chipotle and Olive Garden.

    Here’s some free advice: take your own food to the game. You can bring in whatever you want.

  8. Arte says:

    The real crime is the prices.

  9. Renton says:

    “Phew. Dodged a bullet there.”

    — NW Mo. State Bearcats and Washburn fans

    • Java Man says:


    • Tim says:

      I forgot if it was on 610 or 810, but on Thursday the report was the NW/Washburn game was moving to NW because of the snow on Saturday and the Chiefs didn’t want the Arrowhead turf to be torn up. What are the odds NW and/or Washburn got wind of the food story and moved because of that?

  10. Ptolemy says:

    Gee…disgruntled employee goes on mission to discredit employer — no lack of objectivity there huh?

    This story seems to be much-ado-about-nothing. Why is government the “expert” at cleanliness in food prep? Government can’t get anything right.

    Was the ladle actually pulled out of the trash can and used or was it thrown away? No mention.

    Little emphasis given that the moldy buns were thrown out and not used. Anyone that serves bread products deals with mold growth. It’s a fact of life.

    The report mentions that the employees shut things down at the end of the game and left and left the impression nobody would return until March. Did anyone ask Aramark if another cleaning crew was coming to the facility to clean-up for end-of-year shut-down, which all food processing companies do?

    Quite irresponsible reporting by ESPN in my opinion.

  11. Ptolemy says:

    BTW, that stuff in the metal pan under the tipped-over coffee dispenser looks kind of like a bacon-topped casserole of some sort and is making me hungry. Anybody know if there is some of it left?

  12. Old Man Kissel says:

    Congratulations to the 810 crew for being on the front line of this story. I guess 610 just wanted to phone it in today for the weekend.

    No wonder that…

    810 scoops 610 once again…

    • Ptolemy says:

      What exactly does any of this have to do with sports?

      • Mike says:

        And why do you care? You obviously don’t have any concern at all about the quality/cleanliness of what you’re served at the TSC. So why does it burn your ass what Greg writes about, or what 810 discusses?

        It is newsworthy.

        I hope some volunteer spreads a dollop of their own shit in your Chilidog the next time you go to the K.

        And nice ‘government’ dig. Hey, let’s privatize food inspections!!!! I can’t see what could go wrong there. Hmm….substitute a public service for a profit motive, which invites all sorts of corner-cutting the likes we were just informed of when it came to Aramark’s dealings at the stadiums.

        KK, despite some incoherence early on, made a good point in his monologue. If Aramark’s service, and the agreement between the teams and Aramark, were sufficient enough for the high-dollar clientele that attend games, then the teams would have no problem letting Aramark service the VIP levels too. But they DON’T.

        If a lot of you schmucks think “no big deal, I did this when in college”, then why don’t you still fucking live like a college student??? Maybe it’s because eventually you fucking wised up??! I liked college too, but like hell I’m going back to live like THAT.

        And it wasn’t irresponsible journalism. You wouldn’t even know what that is to begin with.

        • Brummy says:

          Mike’s pissed!

        • Ptolemy says:

          By the way, did you know that the government ALLOWS a certain amount of rat excrement and rodent hair in hot dogs you purchase from a clean concession stand?

          “But if government does it, it HAS to be right!”

          Bon appetit!

    • Alphonse Tooty says:

      I heard Jim Catty’s kitchen is filthy.

      • Juan Pablo's Douche says:

        KK, I mean Old man Kissel, sure showed them with his comment,. Man that was the best zinger ever.

        • Old Man Kissel says:

          I can’t stop laughing.

          Whenever someone disagrees with what I’m saying….of course I’m KK. It’s the last refuge of the ignorant .

          810 scoops 610 once again…

          • Alphonse Tooty says:

            When has anyone here ever AGREED with what you say?

          • Ptolemy says:

            That’s because you’re the only guy that defends him so it lessens the odds that you ARE him.

          • Juan Pablo's Douche says:

            Maybe old man Kissass, 610 just wanted to talk sports today and not some stupid food story. So is 810 going to be out in front of other food inspection reports? Did they jump all over when Arthur Bryants Downtown location was closed due to unsanitary conditions? Whoopity DO 810 scores a big victory in radio wars. Just the fact that you live life proclaiming a radio station a victor shows how sad your life is.

    • Juan Pablo says:

      This is why 810 suck now. The avoid talking about sports any chance they get. The border patrol is the worse, they never talk sports anymore. I guess when you have a bunch of old people on 810 who have been talking sports for years and are bored with talking sports they rather talk about something else any chance they get.

      Who cares about the food, this happens everywhere. Dumb story.

      There are some great college football games and Basketball starts this weekend.
      What does 810 do, At 810 its time to talk food, followed by some BBQ show. then some guy selling you his platinum lock pick of the week. I can’t believe people listen to that garbage. Maybe old people like it.

      • Alphonse Tooty says:

        Yo provided a pretty good rundown of their programming, so obviously YOU listen.

        • Juan Pablo says:

          You are not smart are you.
          I know CBS has garbage shows like 2 broke girls on, I think it gets good ratings but I don’t watch it.
          If 810/610 has a good guest on or talking about a good subject in sports I will listen. If I tune into to the golf channel I want to hear or watch something about golf, If I tune into a music station I want music , I tune into a sports station I don’t want to hear about the quality of food or someone selling bbq equipment. I change channel..

  13. brett says:

    i’ve been taking jimmy johns into the k for a long time now. my buddies always give me a hard time about it.

    i imagine i’ll be asked to pick up a few extra beach clubs next year.

  14. Frank says:

    I hear it can sometimes take weeks for food poisoning to incubate. Brace yourselves if you went to any of the games. Do I have to remind you of all the Ebola deaths in this country. Of course I’m assuming at least hundreds have died so far based on the media hysteria

  15. brian plumer says:

    Greg….true or false. The press releases the Chiefs and royals sent out would almost contractually have to be that way. But behind closed doors the reprimand the teams would send Aramark would be swift and harsh. The teams can’t air the laundry in public.

  16. Java Man says:

    That is digusting.
    – Alex Gordon’s hat

  17. Kyle says:

    What I don’t understand is why anybody would eat ANYTHING in the stadium during the game. I’m so full after tailgaiting, it’s all I can do to force 4-5 $10 beers down me.

  18. Kerouac says:

    Steve Bono was right – San Francisco does have the best restaurants… and baseball team, and football team, and…


    • Java Man says:

      Best trolls?

    • 3GP says:

      Oh no! The Great Kerap has taken another one and insulted my favorite sports team! However will I go on with my life?

      It’s almost 5p, isn’t it past your bedtime? You really need to call your nurse and get your diaper changed.

  19. Kerouac says:

    Kansas City… eating it’s frustrations since 1970/1985


  20. Harry Balczak says:

    This is not surprising to anyone who has eaten the food at the K since Aramark took over the concessions..stale buns, nasty hot dogs etc. Aramark needs to go!

    • Juan Pablo says:

      They need to get whoever supplies the food to Arena in Oklahoma City. They had great food, great selection and fair prices.

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