Health leaders conduct food inspections for opening of Ozark Empire Fair

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 10:11 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield-Greene County Health Department officials started giving out random inspections for the 85th annual Ozark Empire Fair at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds.

All this preparing is for the Ozark Empire fair starting July 29. And health officials said these checks are vital.

“Some of these smaller food trailers are stressed to produce a large amount of food in a brief amount of time and there’s room for error there,” said Eric Marcol, an event coordinator. “We want to make sure there are opportunities to do a lot as long as you’re preparing food safely.”

Aaron Owen, the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds general manager, said along with food precautions, COVID-19 is a massive factor considering safety.

“We didn’t get rid of anything, you walk through you’ll still see hand washing sinks, sanitizing stations, the rides are still spaced out, not as full as last year, but at least eight and most of them 10 feet,” said Owen.

Marcol said taking the right precautions for food safety is vital as well.

“Reassuring them take time to wash hands, use gloves, and take temperature where they need to be, is key to make sure we don’t have any of those, getting sick because of that for a food-bourne illness,” said Marcol.

Also this year, event organizers said they have similar overall protocols to 2020, except some social distancing and the mask ordinance.

“Still in a lot of our stands, we’ve still got plexiglass up most of the concession trailers are being served behind glass windows, that’s not protocol, but we’re keeping all the protocol form last year,” said Owen.

And staff said protocols for food are needed especially in this heat.

“We have a presence out here specific to the food safety, every day we’re conducting inspections, we do our best to make sure the food is safe,” said Marcol.

The fair ends August 7.

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