SALT LAKE CITY — A new ESPN health inspection report lists Vivint Smart Home Arena as one of the worst sports stadiums to eat at in North America, but the Salt Lake County Health Department claims the report is dated.
“The report came out and brought to light the food safety at the Vivint Smart Home Arena,” said Jeffrey Oaks, the food protection bureau manager for the Salt Lake County Health Department.
Out of the more than one hundred stadiums, the home to our beloved Jazz ranked among the ten worst places to eat at in North America.
“We did a number of follow up inspections at the arena,” said Oaks. “They had violations that were to the level we weren’t comfortable just letting them go for another year."
According to the report, the arena racked up 72 violations, 54 of which were considered “high-level” or “critical.”
“There were just a number of them [violations] that were fairly consistent across several stands [food vendors],” Oaks said.
Listed among the top concerns: Employees serving food with their bare hands.
“Whatever’s on their hands is going to be transferred right to that food,” Oaks said.
The Salt Lake County Health Department believes the report could be a little misleading.
“I would say that the information from ESPN is a little bit dated,” Oaks said.
The report was compiled based on numbers from 2016 and 2017. Since that time Vivint has seen some serious changes — including a full remodel.
“It’s important to note that the vendor that was in the arena before it was remodeled is now different and it’s also important to note that the facilities and actually the names of the stands are different, they’re not even the same operation in-between those two years,” said Oaks.
Marissa Larsen and Nikki Butler have been going to Jazz games for years — they said a few years ago, they wouldn’t have dreamed of eating at the arena.
“[We would] eat at other restaurants and then come to the game,” said Butler.
“Just never sure about what’s going on with the food,” said Larsen.
Now, since the remodel, they’re not shying away from grabbing a bite.
“There’s other choices you can choose from so you have your concession stand choices that you can go around and get, but there are other restaurants too in there,” Butler said.
So should you be worried? The Health Department doesn’t seem to think so.
“Absolutely not, the Health Department is not concerned, it’s perfectly safe to eat at the Vivint Smart Home Arena,” Oaks said.
Oaks mentioned that the Health Department was back at Vivint Smart Home Arena to conduct their yearly review in November, they found the arena to be in compliance.
Fox 13 did reach out to the arena for comment, they did not want to be interviewed but said they would be conducting their own investigation to verify what ESPN had said in their report