Health inspectors to return to Lucas Oil Stadium

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Bob Segall/13 Investigates

Indianapolis - 13 Investigates has learned health inspectors are heading back to Lucas Oil Stadium.

A 13 Investigates report showed the stadium has been battling a problem with mice infesting stadium kitchens along with hundreds of other serious food safety violations. Now there's more action following our "flagging the food" report.

More than 500 critical food safety violations were found at Lucas Oil Stadium including an ongoing problem with rodents. Since last December, inspectors have found mouse droppings over and over and over again - in storage areas, kitchens, even inside a stadium oven. Inspectors also found dead mice and after repeated warnings, they then found numerous live mice running throughout a loge level kitchen.

County health officials say that can put customers at risk.

"Mice can carry food borne illness like salmonella. It's not a good idea to have mice in your food stand," said Ed Culver, Marion County Health Department.

13 Investigates has learned a top county health inspector will be back at Lucas Oil Stadium within the next 48 hours to check for more signs of rodents. This weekend, the stadium will also get a visit from an executive vice president from Centerplate, the company providing all stadium food service.

George Wooten will be flying in from Centerplate headquarters in Connecticut, and he talked to Eyewitness News by phone.

"Any violation is serious and I'm personally going to be there this weekend to ensure that what I believe is happening is happening," said Wooten.

What's happening is Centerplate has placed mouse monitoring stations all around the stadium's food service areas. They're actually glorified mouse traps. A mouse goes inside, where it gets stuck and dies. An exterminator then checks all these black boxes around the stadium - and the number of mice found tells Centerplate and health officials what they're dealing with.

"It's our responsibility to control the situation and ensure that we don't have rodent infestation, we don't have active rodent activity, so that's what we're doing. We got an exterminator. We got monitoring stations. It's our belief that activity is next to zero based on the monitoring stations," said Wooten.

The Health Department tells 13 Investigates the black boxes contained four dead mice when exterminators last checked them in October. That's certainly not a large number considering the size of the stadium, but it's evidence that mice are still getting into areas where health inspectors say they don't belong.

The next inspection will take place this week. The health department is not letting up after that. Just this afternoon, we learned 11 inspectors will be at the stadium December 6th. During the Colts-Titans game, they'll check the stadium's 174 food stands from top-to-bottom. Once that happens, we'll get you the results.

Colts send letter to fans

Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis Colts e-mailed the following message to season ticket holders about the 13 Investigates report: 

There was a recent media report concerning the sanitation and safety of certain food operations areas inside Lucas Oil Stadium.  The Indianapolis Colts are in the process of confirming that any problem is promptly resolved.  Nothing is more important to the Indianapolis Colts than the health and safety of our fans.  We also believe that anything that can be controlled, such as sanitation, should never be compromised.  The entities directly in control of food operations at Lucas Oil Stadium, Centerplate and the CIB, have assured us that they are thoroughly investigating the report and that any issues they identify will be corrected immediately.  We are monitoring the progress of the investigation and we have every confidence that the professionals at Centerplate and the CIB will fulfill their commitment.

The Indianapolis Colts