Fair food vendors work to meet health safety standards - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fair food vendors work to meet health safety standards

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- A big part of the Benton Franklin Fair and Rodeo is all the tasty fair food there is to enjoy, but what many people don't know is just how much effort goes into keeping that food safe.

The Benton Franklin Fair and Rodeo management and the Benton Franklin Health District work together to make sure nobody gets sick at the fair. And they're not taking any chances. The health district checks on the food vendors over and over again.

It wouldn't be a fair without indulgent fair food, but the last thing the fair management or the health district want is food illness to ruin your fun.

Lori Lancaster, Fair Manager, says they take food safety very seriously.

"The health department is really a partner in this. We work together on everything from hand washing to the food vendors and so we want people to come out here and have a good time and not have to worry about anything being bad for them," says Lancaster.

Susan Shelton from the health district says food vendors are checked every day and sometime twice a day to make sure they're sanitary.

"Hygiene. Number one. We want to make sure everyone has adequate access to hand washing, that they're using it often, and that they're using a barrier. Gloves, tongs, something like that that keeps their hands from touching the food," says Shelton.

Each food vendor must have a health department permit and each worker must have a food handler's card. A food handling class is offered to vendors before the fair starts.

"Always in food really what it is, it's a good portion of knowledge. You need to make sure you know how to handle your food. Safety from start to finish until it's served. So one of the things we do out at the fair and with all our workers in general is a lot of training," says Shelton.

The fair starts working with the health district in march to prepare for keeping the event safe. If a vendor isn't meeting food safety requirements then the health district will shut them down.