Health inspectors check food at Indiana county fairs

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Fairgoers hungry for their fair favorites may notice health inspectors checking out the food stalls at their local county fair to keep everyone safe.

Every summer, county health inspectors check for conditions to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.

At the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Franklin, inspector Bob Smith kept busy.

“Nobody wants to get sick from food at a fair,” said Smith, before he walked into a stall selling corndogs and hamburgers.

First, Smith tests the food temperature to make sure everything is cooked properly and stays hot or cold as it’s supposed to.

“It’s… 153 degrees. So it’s adequate. It’s 135 degrees or more,” said Smith, as he poked his thermometer into a corndog sitting under a heat lamp.

Then, Smith checks the cleanliness of the stall and makes sure there’s no risk for cross contamination.

“You have adequate refrigeration, you have adequate hot holdings, the lights are shielded, the unit’s clean and sanitary. No insects, no cross contamination issues that I’m seeing,” he said as he looked around.

Smith explained that if there are ever issues, the health department could give the vendor a warning and then work with them to fix the problem. The department could also fine the vendor up to $500 per violation. And if it’s a habitual offender, officials can even ask the Fair Board to ban them returning.

“Food safety is a must,” he said. “If we can lower that risk of a food borne illness from occurring, so much the better.”