Inspectors make sure fair food is safe in extreme heat

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Food inspectors with the Department of Health and Department of Agriculture are busy making sure that food is safe at the State Fair despite the extreme heat and humidity.

Inspectors visit each food booth at least once during the fair.

The folks at Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar said when you're slinging cookies in the heat, things can get messy.

"The chocolate gets everywhere when it's this hot. So we're constantly trying to make sure there isn't chocolate all over," Manager Katie Atlas said.

General cleanliness is something food inspectors like Kip Fondrick, with the Department of Agriculture, look extra closely at when inspecting food booths.

Fondrick says one of the things he looks for is that employees are wearing gloves.

"They're not touching food without using gloves because obviously it's hotter," he said. "They don't want to be using gloves."

Sweaty hands mean more hand washing is needed.

Atlas says her employees are, "washing hands all the time. Any time they take off their gloves, they're washing hands."

Atlas says employees also have to change aprons more often.

The food inspectors look at hot and cold food holding areas and also make sure equipment isn't straining under the heat and that there are no power outages.

"You got that 4-hour window. After four hours, if there's any equipment down or anything, then you start getting spoiled foods," Fondrick said.

Fondrick said there have been no big food safety issues yet at the fair and Sweet Martha's got a gold star.


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