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Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

County health staff make sure fair’s food stays safe

Vendors must meet same standards as restaurants

  • "It's good, and it's good for you," says Bob Perkins of Marysville as he bites into corn on the cob at the Evergreen State Fair in August of 2009.

    Dan Bates / Herald file photo, 2009

    "It's good, and it's good for you," says Bob Perkins of Marysville as he bites into corn on the cob at the Evergreen State Fair in August of 2009.

Whether its turkey legs, elephant ears or cotton candy, one of the best parts of the Evergreen State Fair is the food.
It could also be the worst part.
A little carelessness could mean that dozens of people become sick after gorging on fair food.
That's why the Snohomish Health District sends out food inspectors to summer events including the fair, which is scheduled to start next week and run through Sept. 2.
During the summer, the staff inspects nearly 1,000 temporary food service vendors including those at 40-plus community events.
"Our 10 environmental health specialists spend most of their summer weekends inspecting the food vendors at local events like AquaFest and the Stanwood-Camano Fair," food safety team leader Randy Durant said in a news release. "If they find any critical food safety failure, it has to be corrected immediately. We are just as thorough at a temporary event as we are in a brick-and-mortar restaurant."
Those health workers check food temperatures, refrigeration, hand-washing and food-handling procedures, permits and about 40 more items on a checklist intended to ensure that vendors and staff maintain the best practices for food safety.
The health district also provides training for food workers. Food handlers must pass a test to earn a state food worker card before they can work in food service.
The health district supplies portable hand washing stations at some of the larger events, such as the Monroe fairgrounds. The health district's food safety team inspects daily at the fair.
Evergreen State Fair returns
The Evergreen State Fair is Aug. 22 through Sept. 2 at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. Watch for more advance coverage in The Herald and at www.HeraldNet.com or go to www.evergreenfair.org.

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