Vendors cited for past health code violations return to New York State Fair

Food vendors with health code issues return to NY State Fair

Nearly a third of the eateries identified by the state health department set up shop again this year.
Published: September 16, 2019 | Updated: October 3rd, 2019 at 4:52 pm

Of the food vendors who were cited for health code violations in 2018, 22 returned to this year’s New York State Fair that recently attracted a record-setting 1.3 million visitors.

In 2018, 72 vendors were mentioned in a food inspection report from the New York Department of Health for unsafe practices concerning food preparation. The year before that, 61 vendors received health code violations.

State fair spokesperson and marketing manager Dave Bullard said that the safety of the fair’s food is important and that the fair is doing all it can to combat food-borne illnesses for future events.

“Health Department inspections are one of many factors taken into account when deciding the future status of a vendor,” Bullard said.

Yet, some of the 22 returning vendors have been fixtures at the fair for several years

Santillo's stand at the 2019 New York State Fair
Santillo's stand at the 2019 New York State Fair.

Santillo’s, a New York State Fair staple known for its sausages and Philly cheesesteaks, has been operating for almost 100 years. However, the vendor also led the pack for health code violations in 2018 with five that included:

  • Potentially hazardous food at improper temperature
  • Food from unapproved sources: adulterated; contaminated; reserved
  • Improper disposal of sewage and liquid waste
  • Utensils (tongs, spoons, spatulas, sanitary gloves) not used to eliminate bare hand contact with cooked or prepared foods.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh opened the 2018 Fair by chowing down on the locally famous Gianelli’s sausage. Just months afterward, Gianelli’s Sausage featuring Dinosaur Bar-B-Que was also cited for health code issues, including:

  • Food from unapproved sources: adulterated; contaminated; reserved
  • Potentially hazardous food at improper temperature

Representatives for Santillo’s and Gianelli’s did not respond to requests for comments.

One-third of the vendors who were cited in 2018 returned for the 2019 edition that ran August 21 to Sept. 2 at the New York State Fairgrounds. The returning vendors plus the number of citations listed in parentheses included:

1. Syracuse Suds Factory / Courtside Grill (4)

2. Emmi’s Hots (4)

3. Babcia’s Perogies’ (4)

4. Basilo’s Sausage (4)

5. Jamerican Diner (3)

6. Twin Trees (3)

7. Peppino’s Bar (3)

8. Bosco’s (2)

9. Wrap it Up (2)

10. Stephen’s Greek Cuisine (2)

11. Big Kahuna’s (2)

12. P-Z-O’s (2)

13. Nancy’s Fried Dough (2)

14. King David’s Gyros (2)

15. Las Delicias (2)

16. Henry’s Hen House (2)

17. NYS Maple Producers (2)

18. Danny-D’s (3)

19. Creole Soul Cafe (3)

20. Tommy’s C (3)

Like fairs in years past, the state Dept. of Health food inspection data for the 2019 fair will not be available until early 2020. The 2018 and 2017 reports of NYS food service inspections were acquired through a freedom of information request through the State Department of Health for NCC News.

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is a contributing reporter and broadcast and digital journalism and political science junior