State Fair food inspection process underway

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- We're only one day away from the Nebraska State Fair, which means a whole lot of rides, entertainment, and of course food.

But before the start of the State Fair, there must be inspections.

The food safety inspections start Friday, but the inspection process with the food vendors started Thursday.

Part of the process is giving out permits to vendors and having them attend a food safety class Thursday. Inspectors taught the class to make sure vendors understand what they are looking for in the inspections.

At the end of the class, vendors took a test and if they didn't pass it they are required to take it again.

Once the food is prepared Friday, the inspections will happen.

"If they were to fail they would be closed on the spot," Nathan Eckhout, an environmental health specialist for the Central District Health Department, said. "Then they get time to get it corrected and we'll come back and get them reopened, if they got that corrected."

He added if there's a problem they usually like to get it corrected within the first couple of hours.

Officials said the inspection process is important to ensure everyone at the State Fair is safe.

"We make sure all of the waters are hooked up correctly, from coming in to going out," Eckhout said. "We make sure they have their thermometers and sanitizers." "We also make sure they're cooking things properly, just looking at the whole realm of what's going on," Eckhout said.

Health officials said safety is important and fairgoers need to be proactive as well.

"Throughout the State Fair, their hands are touching everything," Eckhout said. "We want to make sure they use some sanitizer, wash their hands, and make sure their cleaned up before they get some food." "That way both parties are protected and you're safe," he added.

Officials said there will be at least one inspector onsite during the duration of the State Fair.

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