Food inspectors ensure fair food safety
Posted at: 09/14/2012 4:54 PM
| Updated at: 09/14/2012 7:30 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
From chile relleno dogs to donut burgers, the New Mexico State fair is famous for its food, but making sure it's safe is a fulltime job for a whole squad of state health inspectors.
Fair food may be a nutritionist's nightmare, buit even if that donut burger contains a week's worth of cholesterol and calories, but at least it'll be safe.
Inspectors from the state Environment Department are busy checking and rechecking 140 food vendors on the fairgrounds, and most vendors seem to welcome the attention.
After all, preparing and serviing food in a tent perched on a patch of asphalt isn't exactly Julia Child territory.
"When we're working with food, everybody knows you want to make sure everything's safe," said Tina Lambert, owner of The Cornfield, a stand specializing on roasted corn on the cob fresh from the fields of Torrance County. "It's all got to be to temperature. It's really important for us as a family with children to make sure the food is safe for people."
"We're looking for how they're handling the food, how the employees are working, making sure they have good personal hygiene, washing their hands," inspector Johnathan Gerhardt said. "We spend a lot of time focusing on food temperatures as well. Bad food temperatures are known to cause illness, so we're loking at those two things mainly."
There's no way food inspectors can protect fair-goers from heartburn or gaining a half dozen pounds, but as for food poisoning and sother serious ailments, the fair appears to have you about as well-covered as it gets.
In these first days of the fair there are eight food inspectors roaming the vendor booths.
They say problems tend to surface right at the start, but then things smooth out for the rest of the 12-day fair.