Keeping food up to standards at county fairs can give vendors a challenge.
Health inspectors head out to the Muskingum County Fair everyday. During the first couple days, inspectors check every vendor to make sure that they’re up to all health codes. After which, they go around and make random stops throughout the week.
“It keeps all of us on our toes, and we need to be because safety is the first thing,” said the owner of Grillin’ Dave-Style, Dave Dailey. “The last thing we want to do is have anyone get sick from whatever reason. They’re doing a job, and they have a job to do. They’re always welcome when they come.”
While Grillin’ Dave-Style is an established restaurant in town and brings trained staff to the fair, other vendors use volunteers. That’s what public health sanitarian at the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department, Jason Tilton said inspectors really focus on. It’s an extra step to make sure not as experienced people are serving safe food.
“One thing that’s really different at the fair, we deal with a lot of volunteers,” Tilton said. “We have a lot of non-profit groups here. So we’re dealing with people that aren’t necessarily in the restaurant industry, so they don’t necessarily know some of the food safety that people know that’s in the restaurant industry everyday.”
Tilton said a lot of the things they catch are people struggling to keep food cold enough. However, he said in his 13 years at the health department, he has never seen a fair vendor shut down.