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Health Department Plays Key Role In Keeping 'Greatest Spectacle In Eating Safe'

Armen Hareyan's picture

For many, a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 during May represents the 'Greatest Spectacle in Eating.'

On race day the Indianapolis Motor Speedway concessions stands serve enough hot dogs, that when laid end to end, would circle the Speedway two and a half times. In 2006 the IMS concessions stands served more than 10 tons of Track Fries, 10,000 gallons of soda, cooked more than 5 tons of Brickyard Burgers and fried more than 2,000 lbs of chicken tenders. There is more than 15,000 gallons of beer served and more than 450,000 pounds of ice are used. Guests at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway used more than 550 gallons of ketchup during the month of May 2006.

During the May 6 opening day pancake breakfast approximately 10,000 pancakes were served. According to the Speedway, if stacked one on top of another, the pancakes would be taller than 2 scoring towers.

The Marion County Health Department plays a vital role in making certain those visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month have a safe and enjoyable time.

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Ten to twelve Marion County Food Safety Specialists inspect the food establishments at the 2 and ' mile track several times during the event. The food establishments are all licensed and inspected 3 or more times during the event. IMS holds 46 permanently licensed Food Service Establishments and 13 Temporary Food Service Establishment licenses. More than 1,700 volunteers, representing various not-for-profit agencies, staff these food service establishments.

There are an additional 15 third party vendors operating at as many as 125 separate locations inside the track grounds. This includes the caterers that prepare and serve food for the speedway's 120 corporate suites.

Third party vendors are permitted to serve items not served by the Motor Speedway including ice cream, lemonade, pretzels, walking tacos, philly cheese steak, sausage sandwiches, BBQ ribs & chicken, turkey legs, smoothies, ribeye steaks, pork chop sandwiches, corn on the cob, pork on a stick, egg rolls, pizza, biscuits and gravy, cookies, cinnamon rolls, gourmet coffee, apple dumplings and fried dough. There are more than 200 licensed food establishments operating inside the track on race day.

In order to serve food at the Motor Speedway, permission must first be obtained from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Concession Department. Each vendor is responsible for obtaining their own license and operates under the guidelines of the Marion County Health Department.

Outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway there are an additional 45 vendors set up along 16th street and Georgetown. These vendors are licensed and inspected by Marion County food safety specialists and have to meet the same guidelines as the vendors inside the track. These vendors have to rent space from the landowner as well obtain a peddlers license from the town of Speedway.

The health department also inspects restrooms at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to ensure each facility has running water, remain clean and meet other health guidelines.