Critical health violations at Kauffman, Arrowhead stadiums revealed by whistleblower

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former worker for Aramark concession company is crying foul about dozens of violations committed by the company that runs most of the food services at Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums. News of the violations broke Friday in an ESPN Outside the Lines report.

An inspection report FOX 4 obtained from the Kansas City Health Department revealed Aramark broke rules about storing foods at the right temperatures, hand washing, and had insects and rodents present.

READAramark Complaint 11-3

The former employee says he`s been trying to address these things with management for more than two years.

“I don`t want to be a hero or a villain. I just want to move on with my life,” said Jon Costa.

Costa told FOX 4 he did not want to call the media.

“I wanted the problems to be fixed internally, I`m not a disgruntled employee,” Costa said.

WATCH: Food Safety Concerns video produced by Jon Costa

He started working for Aramark about two years ago and quickly developed documentation to help management see existing food safety, temperature and storage concerns.

“When I gave them these documents, they said that`s a poor reflection on my job, because it`s showing that you`re failing at your position,” he said.

Costa said he felt helpless at what he called the unethical disregard for his findings. He emailed the president of Aramark, who sent him back to a local district manager. That man`s response:

“’I know about these things. I know about these things. Sounds to me like you don`t want to work for Aramark anymore. We`ve got a business to run. We have a business to run here,’” Costa recalled.

“Those three things have stuck in my head since May. But I`m the disgruntled employee, I`m mad because I`m trying to help you guys.”

FOX 4 asked Aramark about these food safety violations. It supplied a statement Friday, which reads:

"Food safety is a top priority that we take very seriously. On Monday, November 10, 2014, the Kansas City Health Department re-visited our operations at both Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums and reported no issues or violations.

"Our food safety processes and procedures are industry leading and if issues are raised, we fix them quickly. In addition to working with the Kansas City Health Department, Aramark also conducts frequent internal inspections and takes the added step of engaging independent third-party auditors to objectively evaluate our practices. An independent auditor evaluated both locations in Kansas City twice in the past 30 days.

"In Kansas City we serve millions of fans every year and have a strong record of performance in food safety at both sites. This year the Kansas City Health Department recognized our operations at each stadium with its Grade 'A' Food Safety Excellence Award.

"Our commitment to food safety and these standards applies everywhere we operate."

READAramark Follow Up 11-10

Aramark didn`t comment on what the health department did find just one week before on November 3, the very things in Costa`s reports.

“After the game, they just flipped the switch off, and they walked out,” said health department division manager Naser Jouhari.

There were violations in 20 out of 26 inspections. Food left in drawers and on preparation surfaces. Kitchen surfaces were left dirty. The inspections did prompt action:

“We received a corrective action plan from Aramark on how to prevent this from happening in the future. They did what they needed to do, they fixed all violations,” Jouhari said.

Costa says it`s just a Band Aid.

“Food safety cannot start with a dough roller. It has to start at the top of the corporation level. And it has to be driven down, and it has to be instilled in every manager at every level,” Costa said.

A thought process he hopes Aramark will adopt and implement, without tarnishing fans’ opinions of the city`s beloved Royals and Chiefs.

“I want to restore the fans’ faith in the safety of the food at the stadiums. With me, or without me, that`s all I can ask,” Costa said.

The health department inspects each concession stand at both stadiums two to three times each season, before during and after the game. It said that the same violations have been found at the same concession stands in the past, though specific statistics and times were not revealed.

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