The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Food Handling Safety in Concession Stands !

Are you cooking up trouble?

Ants, bees, flies, rain, or wind can be annoying when enjoying a hot dog and soda at the ballpark. However, all of those pale in comparison to food poisoning, another outdoor food risk!

Indoor and outdoor sports organizations risk liability in the event of a food poisoning incident resulting from ??

improper food handling in concession stands.  General Liability generally covers such occurrences, but preventing them is preferable. What follows are some basic tips for reducing such risks.

Management and purchases

  • Concession stands must adhere to local food licensing and permit laws and regulations.
  • All concession workers should receive training in proper food handling by management.
  • Only purchase food from reputable, good-quality sources.
  • Do not purchase or serve any food past the expiration date.
  • Avoid serving food prepared at home, other than baked goods.

Food Handlers

  • All concession workers must wash hands using soap and water after potential contamination. This include but is not limited to:
    • Using restroom
    • Sneezing, coughing
    • Touching counters and garbage cans, dumping garbage
    • Touching cash register and money
    • Touching face, mouth or hair
  • Use of gloves and hand sanitizers offer additional protection, but are not a substitute for frequent hand washing.
  • Food handlers must be symptom-free of illness (coughing, sneezing or sniffling, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) when handling food.
  • Food handlers must use appropriate utensils, gloves, or deli paper when handling food.

     Insects and Vermin

    • Store all food off the floor.
    • All food should be covered and spills/drips continually wiped down to discourage insects.
    • Keep trash cans covered at all times with tight-fitting lids.



    • Foods requiring refrigeration to be held at 40° F or lower until being served.
    • Keep a thermometer in your refrigerator/freezer to ensure fridge is maintained a 40°F and freezer at 0°F.
    • Perishable food should not sit out of refrigerator longer than two hours.


    • Disposable utensils and paper products should be used to reduce cleaning and contamination.
    • Do not wash or reuse disposable products.
    • Sanitize and wipe down all food preparation surfaces and concession equipment frequently.
    • Do not overfill garbage cans, and empty them frequently.

    For more detailed food handling information, you can download our food risk management report.

    Filed under: General LiabilityHealth

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New Protector Flush System Halts Catastrophic Toilet Leaks !


Aqua Mizer, Inc. introduces the Protector Fill Valve with Adjustable Flush System providing dramatic toilet leak protection and daily water efficiencies.

[Sarasota, FL - April, 2014]  Aqua Mizer’s newest product is the patented and patent pending Protector Fill Valve AM1007.  The Protector will turn off the fill valve in the event of a runaway leak where water runs uncontrolled out of the tank, and the tank cannot refill. If the flapper gets stuck, the tank cracks, the bowl clogs, or some other problem occurs, and water is running uncontrolled, the system will turn off the incoming water in under a minute. This could prevent untold amounts of water being wasted, and more importantly, save tens of thousands of dollars in flood damage, and even much more if you live in a multistory building.
The Protector Fill Valve is the only device on the market that will prevent a catastrophic flood caused by leaks of this nature. When combined with the features and benefits of the Adjustable Flapper, the first innovation launched by Aqua Mizer, Inc., this new system overcomes all problems inherent in toilet tank flush products. It prevents insidious leaks, stops catastrophic flooding, reduces flush volume, and increases flush velocity to ensure a complete bowl clearing with just one flush.

  • A patented fill valve that prevents stealthy leaks and keeps 75,000 gallons of water from flowing into your toilet bowl and going down the drain.
  • A design that includes zero internal metal parts to corrode or clog.
  • An adjustable flapper that flushes with less water and more velocity, allowing one strong flush instead of two or three weaker flushes to clear the bowl.
  • A sediment filter that is easily removed for cleaning.
  • A 10-year warranty on the fill valve and five years on the flapper.


1.5 Trillion Gallons of Water!

The EPA and the American Waterworks Association tell us that this much water is wasted each year just in the USA by faulty, leaking toilets. According to their research, at any given time 20% of all tank toilets in the U.S. are leaking.

As yet there has been no formal means of addressing this prevalent water loss. The government focuses on mandating low-flow toilets saving 1/2 gallon of water per flush (about 3,000 gallons/year), but that’s a drop in the toilet compared to 75,000 – 200,000 gallons from just from one undetected leaky toilet.

The flush segment of the toilet bowl industry is dominated by a handful of players that offer basic products that flush toilets, but do not effectively reduce water consumption. The new Protector System is a break-through product unlike anything available on the market.

“Few realize the incredible amount of water wasted by the insidious toilet leak,” says Aqua Mizer Vice President Michael Sisti. “We’re already seeing a response from property managers and hotel administrators to this inexpensive toilet flush system that will not only prevent a quiet leak, but also protect their buildings from serious damage.”

Gayle A. Williams   (cell) 941.587.9217


The Baseball Rule Is Alive and Well In New York !


Baseball_RuleBaseball_RuleBaseball_Rule   As was the death of Mark Twain, the demise of the baseball

rule has been exaggerated, at least in New York. The

baseball rule, also known as the limited duty of care, is a

unique legal duty. The duty of care owed by the owners and

operators of a baseball facility is to provide protective screening

in the area behind home plate. The area behind home plate

is purportedly the area where the danger of being struck by an

errant baseball, bat or even promotional items is the greatest.

If adequate protection is provided to those spectators who

want to watch the game from behind screening, the owners

and operators cannot be held liable to injured spectators.

Recently, Idaho and Missouri courts made headlines when

they rejected the baseball rule and embraced a “reasonable

care” standard instead. Other states, such as New Jersey

and Colorado, have enacted baseball-specific liability statutes.

New York, however, recently reinforced its adherence

to the baseball rule in an unusual case. In Cocco v. City of

New York (2014 N.Y. Slip Op 1395), the Appellate Division,

First Department affirmed summary judgment on behalf of

defendants in a case that involved a plaintiff who was struck

in the face by an errant baseball while walking on a city sidewalk

next to a school. The baseball came from a schoolyard

and ball field adjacent to the sidewalk. The schoolyard was

owned and maintained by the defendants.

Citing the baseball rule, the Appellate Division, First Department

held that the defendants had established their prima facie

entitlement to judgment as a matter of law because they

neither owed nor violated a duty of care owed to the plaintiff.

Even accepting the plaintiff’s allegations and testimony as

true, the defendants, as “the proprietor[s] of a ball park need

only provide screening for the area of the field behind home

plate where the danger of being struck by a ball is the greatest”

Akins v. Glens Falls City School Dist., 53 N.Y.2d 325, 330

(1981). See Haymon v. Pettit, 9 N.Y.3d 324 [2007]; Roberts v.

Boys &Girls Republic, Inc., 51 A.D.3d 246, 247-8 (1st Dep’t

2008), affd 10 N.Y.2d 889 (2008). It was of no moment that

the plaintiff was a passerby and not a spectator, or that the

plaintiff was on a city sidewalk when she was struck. Since

the requisite protection was provided, the duty of care was

satisfied and defendants could not be held liable.

While the baseball rule may be drawing its last breath in

some jurisdictions, the Cocco case demonstrates it is still

alive and well in New York.


Carla Varriale: 646-747-5115 or


Family SportCation = Big Business !


  The consumption of youth sports tournaments, elite programs, family sport-cations, equipment, uniforms, private coaching, digital media platforms and access to mom and dad consumers are all feeding into a multi billion dollar youth sports industry. Long gone are the days of local recreational leagues, orange slices and stopping for an ice cream as a post game celebration.  Today it’s about travel teams, weekend long tournaments, hotel rooms, flights, sports drinks, pop up tents, condo coolers, 7 uniforms, paid coaches, indoor training facilities, $50 under shirts and $150 cleats…and that’s just for the parents!
Today there are over 30 million boys and girls playing youth sports compared to under 8 million in 1970.  As my family and thousands of other families across the US enjoy these weekend Sport-Cations together and the friendships with other like minded sports families, we are not just providing for our kids with life long friendships and memories, but also preparing them for a great big world that is beyond the 15 mile radius most of us lived in growing up.  We are also preparing them for the reality of the global competition of life and how to sacrifice for those things you enjoy doing. Take a look at High School sports and cable networks.  High School teams are not just taking school buses to games anymore. They fly across country to play on national TV.  Why, because of human nature to compete and bragging about being the best and playing the best and the need to consume that competition!  It’s a business ladies and gentlemen and it starts when they are about 10.  The clock is ticking and the meter is running.
Youth sports are on a national and international stage. Many of this years Olympic athletes are still in High School.  However, most of our kids will never experience that next level in the upcoming 5-6 years and beyond.  So as a family to go
through this experience together in what is such a small window of time is a great thing!   These kids are active, they learn how to compete within a team dynamic, they build friendships, they socialize through talking, laughing and late night swims. Team travel is the ultimate bonding experience. Plus they get to explore other areas of the country most of which we/they would never visit.  Why else would you spend a weekend in Scranton? (No offense to those from Scranton, it’s a nice area in the summer)


As thousands of dollars are spent each year by millions of families and brands eager to gain access to moms and their kids, this is a multi billion dollar industry and one to take notice.  These are real consumers who travel multiple weekends a year who are in the prime sponsor upper middle income demo and are a captured audience stuck at a field for 2-3 days over the weekend and spending money on merchandise, food & bev and willing to try any new product that is onsite for free sampling.   This is a real business with real revenue and real participation without player salaries, striking refs and parents who are willing to travel and spend money…..Although maybe not every weekend in Scranton! 
Rob Thompson - Managing Partner of North American Sports Group Owner / Operator of 100+ of the coolest youth and elite tournaments in North America. Go to WebSite  for more information or contact;



Ooma Phones $ave Lots Of Money !

SODALogo_v3Ca$hCa$hCLEVELAND, OH - New stats show the average bill for phone, Internet and TV runs more than $150 a month. That has some people looking to cut corners.

One way to trim your costs is to cut the cord and switch to a phone service that delivers calls via the internet.

Ken Lipke switched his phone service to Ooma just over a year ago. “I think it’s a no-brainer. I’ve saved, since I’ve used it, over $400,” Lipke said.

Ooma is a device that connects to your Internet service on one end and your regular phone on the other.

There’s a one-time cost of about $150 for the black Ooma box  and then the savings begin.

Local and domestic long distance calls are free. You pay just a few dollars per month in taxes. International calls cost extra, but the rates are also very low.

In a survey of more than 50,000 Consumer Reports subscribers, Ooma is the top-rated phone service.

“Our readers who have Ooma service rated it higher than people with any other service, and gave it a top mark for value or what they got for the money.”

There is a limit of 5,000 minutes of calls per month. If you want to keep your home phone number, you have to pay an additional one-time fee of $40.

“As for reliability and the quality of the calls, our survey found that Ooma’s ratings were on par with traditional service from big companies like AT&T or Verizon,” Consumer Reports’ Rosalind Tordesillas said.

Ken Lipke says he has no complaints.  “I don’t lose calls, drop calls. It’s very good quality.” He pays just under $4 a month for the service. “I’d rather spend the money on something else, like a good dinner with my wife!”

This applies to both private and business phone lines as well !


First Dodgeball Tourney for Perry Hi-Way Hose Company !


Erie, PA – Perry Hi-Way Hose Company held its first annual dodgeball tournament on Sunday to help raise funds.
Family First Sports Park donated use of their facility for the tournament and the Erie Sports Store donated the dodgeballs. 
Sunday’s tourney brought in more than three-hundred people, and 25 teams, including teams from Buffalo.      
Perry Hose is an all-volunteer fire, rescue, and EMS service that serves Summit Township and supports crews in the surrounding areas. 
 ”It costs a lot of money to keep up with a fire department, even a volunteer one. The equipment costs a lot of money, the training costs a lot of money, so every single dollar helps,” said Kyle Liebold of Family First Sports Park, who is also a former volunteer at Perry HOse. 
“Anybody who’s willing to risk their life to save a house or save somebody else, that’s definitely a cause worth supporting every time,” said Jeff Kauffman of Erie, on the John V. Schultz team. 
“Especially in the brutal winter that we’ve had. I mean, give them all the props in the world. They’re true heroes,” added Caleb Schenk, a teammate also from Erie. 
The event raised about a thousand dollars. 

New concession items coming to Comerica Park for 2014 season !


Four new hot dogs included in menu additions !

Companies Sportservice announced today that several new menu items will be added for the 2014 season at Comerica Park.

DETROIT, MI - The Detroit Tigers and food, beverage and retail services partner Delaware North Companies Sportservice announced today that several new menu items will be added for the 2014 season at Comerica Park.

In the Tigers Food Court, four new hot dogs have been added to the Topped Dogs stand: The Slaw Dog (natural casing frank with Coney chili and coleslaw), the Pork & Beans Dog (natural casing frank with baked beans, cheddar cheese and bacon), the Late Night Dog (natural casing frank with fried egg, bacon and cheddar cheese) and the Poutine Dog (natural casing frank with French fries, cheese curds and beef gravy).

Also in the Tigers Food Court, the Mexican Stand will now feature a Burrito Bowl (a fried tortilla shell filled with lettuce, cilantro lime rice, roasted corn, black beans and slow-braised chicken or taco meat, topped with pico de gallo and cheddar cheese; a meatless bowl is also available).

In the Tigers Food Court, four new hot dogs have been added to the Topped Dogs stand: The Slaw Dog (natural casing frank with Coney chili and coleslaw), the Pork & Beans Dog (natural casing frank with baked beans, cheddar cheese and bacon), the Late Night Dog (natural casing frank with fried egg, bacon and cheddar cheese) and the Poutine Dog (natural casing frank with French fries, cheese curds and beef gravy).

Also in the Tigers Food Court, the Mexican Stand will now feature a Burrito Bowl (a fried tortilla shell filled with lettuce, cilantro lime rice, roasted corn, black beans and slow-braised chicken or taco meat, topped with pico de gallo and cheddar cheese; a meatless bowl is also available).


Newport Beach Little League suspended; 700 players in limbo ?

League president: The regional office gave little explanation for the action, which comes less than a week after opening day.The Bonita Canyon Sports Park was vacant and not hosting any Little League games on Saturday afternoon.   The Bonita Canyon Sports Park was vacant and not hosting any Little League games on Saturday afternoon.

NEWPORT BEACH, CA  – Less than a week after celebrating opening day, about 700 children in the Newport Beach Little League suddenly have found their season in limbo.

The president of the organization, Gary Borquez, notified the players and their parents on Wednesday that the league had been suspended indefinitely for reportedly not complying with rules and regulations of Little League Baseball.

But Borquez said Saturday that the governing bodies had not specified what those rules are. He said he believed his league was sanctioned because its board had too many managers and coaches.

What’s certain is that the players can’t practice or play games until the suspension is lifted.

“Our main concern is to get the kids back on the field,” Borquez said. “Little League is all about the kids playing and having fun.”

On Wednesday, District 55 Administrator Tamara Alexander, who oversees leagues in the area, sent an email to Dave Bonham, the interim director of the Little League Western Region Headquarters, asking for a suspension of NBLL.

“As you will additionally see, I have exhausted extensive time in trying to get the President to take control of this situation, but my efforts have been futile, which I believe are directly related to the Manager/Coach ratio on the board of directors who are determined to customize the league’s program to their own liking and not consider the best interest of the players in the program,” Alexander wrote.

A couple of hours later, Borquez said, he received an email from Bonham, saying the league would be suspended effective Thursday.

“At the request of Tamara Alexander District 55 Administrator, I am requesting that the charter of Newport Little League put on regional hold, until such time as your organization comes into compliance with the rules and regulations of Little League Baseball and Softball,” Bonham said in the email.

Borquez said the email didn’t describe precisely what rules the league had violated, though it did state the league had too many managers on the board of directors.

He said he had received no advance notice that would have allowed NBLL to correct any violations.

NBLL immediately notified the parents that games and practices would be canceled until further notice. The league held its opening day March 8.

The league held a board meeting Thursday night, where five managers and coaches resigned from the board in an effort to bring it into compliance.

The rule that appears to be at the heart of the suspension states that managers and coaches cannot make up 50 percent or more of the board, Borquez said. NBLL started the season with 24 board members, 14 of whom were managers or coaches.

Borquez said he’s called and emailed District 55 multiple times to clarify the situation, but hasn’t heard back.

Officials at District 55 and Little League Western Region couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Saturday.

NBLL consists of about 70 teams, including two special needs teams, for boys and girls from ages 5 to 13.


Healthy Foods Can Do Well at Concession Stands !

An Univ. of Iowa-led study shows that concession stands can add healthy products without denting sales and profits. The conclusion is based on tracking sales with a school booster club in Muscatine, Iowa. Image: Tim Schoon, Univ. of Iowa

You don’t just need to rely on hot dogs and pizza to make a buck at concession stands. A study led by the Univ. of Iowa examined sales, revenues and profits at a booster-run concession stand in Iowa that offered healthy food items, from apples to string cheese, over two fall seasons. The club registered stable sales and revenue, while profits remained intact. Results appear in the Journal of Public Health.

In the fall of 2008, the booster club in Muscatine, Iowa took a chance. Researchers from the Univ. of Iowa asked whether the club would add healthy foods – from apples to string cheese – to its concessions menu. And would it also consider putting healthier ingredients in big sellers like nachos and popcorn?

These were no idle requests. Booster clubs across the U.S. directly support schools’ athletic and extra-curricular programs like band and choir. The Muskie Boosters, for instance, raise $90,000 annually for athletics and other outside school activities. With crucial dollars at stake, clubs can be reluctant to tinker with a reliable cash generator like concession sales.

“I don’t think without [revenue from] booster clubs, especially with how schools are cutting things, how they’d be able to do it,” says Kate Hansen a former president of the Muskie Boosters.

The little gamble paid off for the Muskies. According to a new study published this week in the Journal of Public Health, the club netted stable sales and revenues with the healthy-food additions over one full season. Profits remained intact as well. Average sales per varsity football game rose to $6,849 in 2009 from $6,599 the year before, an increase of 4 percent. Moreover, the healthy foods made up 9.2 percent of concession sales, signaling the new products could boost overall sales. Parents and students also said they were happy with the healthy-food choices, according to surveys cited in the study.

“This study is the first to evaluate the results on satisfaction and sales of making changes to concession-stand offerings in school settings,” writes the research team, led by Helena Laroche, assistant professor in internal medicine and pediatrics at the UI and the study’s corresponding author. “It provides preliminary evidence that altering offerings and adding healthy options can be done by working in concert with parent groups. Furthermore, these modifications can provide reasonable revenue and profit margins without negative effects on customer satisfaction.”

To date, six other school booster clubs in Iowa have added healthy foods to their concession menus, following a how-to guide written by Laroche based on her experience in Muscatine.

“Booster groups have worried that healthier items wouldn’t sell, and it’s important for them to make money to support student activities,” Laroche says. “This shows it can be done.”

The Muskie Boosters offered eight healthy foods: apples, carrots and dip, chicken sandwiches, granola bars, pickles, soft pretzels, string cheese and trail mix. The items were sold during the 2009 fall season at Muscatine High football games, volleyball matches and swim meets. Additionally, boosters substituted canola oil for coconut oil bars in the popcorn, and swapped the cheese in the nachos, eliminating trans fat from the products. The group advertised the new offerings in a poster and marketing campaign with the slogan, “Great taste, more variety.”

While all the healthy foods sold, chicken sandwiches and pretzels dominated, accounting for 7.6 percent of all food sales, sales data showed. Sales of other items varied according to weather, venue and product visibility. Granola bars and trail mix sold better indoors, while carrots and dip were popular in benign, outdoor weather. String cheese suffered from being tucked away in a refrigerator. Pickles were especially popular with students. And, no one noticed the healthier changes to the popcorn and nachos, which continued to sell briskly.

Researchers from Cornell Univ.’s Food and Brand Lab analyzed the sales data.

“If you’re a concession-stand sponsor, and you want people to eat better, and you want to make more money, add at least five healthy items,” says Brian Wansink, the Cornell lab’s director and a marketing professor. “There’s got to be a critical mass, and we find that five’s a very lucky number, and ten is even better.”

To be sure, classic concession items – hot dogs, pizza and candy bars – continued to sell well. But Hansen says she noticed a shift in people’s perception and attitudes about the new offerings.

“I think what it comes down to is people want to have choices,” says Hansen, who was the Muscatine booster club president during the study. “We still sell hot dogs, we still sell pizza, we still sell candy bars. But everything in life is about choices, and it’s important to put choices out there that meets everybody’s needs and wants, and more people — it seems — want to lead healthier lives.”


Temecula’s Ronald Reagan Sports Park Selected Beneficiary of Macy’s Program !


Temecula, CA.- Macy’s partners with the National Recreation and Park Association to raise funds for local parks nationwide, with every dollar matched by Macy’s, up to $250,000.

Ronald Reagan Park has been selected for “Heart Your Park,” a program introduced as part of Macy’s “Secret Garden” campaign that aims to raise awareness and dollars for local parks across the country. From March 7 to March 31, customers at Macy’s Temecula on Winchester Road can donate $1 or more at the register, with 100 percent of the donations benefiting Ronald Reagan Park. To further spread the love, Macy’s will match the total customer donation across all stores, dollar for dollar, up to $250,000 in total.

Ronald Reagan Park is one of more than 550 parks nationwide that will benefit from Macy’s “Heart Your Park” this spring. In partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the national non- profit organization dedicated to the advancement of community parks, recreation and conservation, Macy’s stores across the country have each selected a local park or green space in their community to support through the program. Donations will go toward making improvements, such as maintaining trails, playgrounds, and ball fields, and everything in between.

“We are thrilled to partner with Macy’s and NRPA for ‘Heart Your Park’ this spring,” said TCSD President, Jeff Comerchero. “Through this wonderful program and donations by Macy’s customers, we are excited about the increased awareness and additional funding for Ronald Reagan Park. This park is a great asset to the community, and we greatly appreciate Macy’s support.”

“Heart Your Park” is part of Macy’s “Secret Garden” spring campaign that will come to life at Macy’s stores and on with an infusion of garden-inspired merchandise, special promotions and events. For more information on “Secret Garden,” visit For a full list of the parks benefiting from Macy’s “Heart Your Park,” visit