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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Azalea Festival Street Fair starts tonight, and food vendors are set up along Water Street.

That means New Hanover County Health Inspectors are out in full force making sure all those tasty treats are also safe to eat.

Each year the Azalea Festival Street Fair draws tens of thousands of people downtown. Many of them come with an appetite.

For more than 15 years health inspectors have been here as well each day of the festival. Instead of just making sure the vendors are up to code when they set up, inspectors make routine checks throughout the weekend not only to ensure proper handling of food, but also to put the public at ease.

“This festival is such a large festival,” New Hanover Co. Deputy Health Director Joshua Swift said. “There are so many food vendors and so many people that come to it, over 2 to 300 thousand people, that it is very important that we are here each day to monitor the food safety.”

Swift says the two major things inspectors look for are proper hand washing and correct food temperatures. Storing food in places that are too hot or too cold can create a breeding ground for bacteria and infect customers.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest44

    The truth is that they do a pretty poor job of watching those vendors. Anyone who doesn’t believe that just needs to watch any of those out of town vendors that sell sausages, etc. No water to wash hands? No problem. Some of those meat products sit on the cool part of the grill for hours when business is slow. No way that stuff is at temp for that long. Hey food inspectors: take a look at the nasty, dirty containers of ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce. Some of them last year were long expired, and there was mold in a glass jar of Texas Pete. Called environmental health – the one’s you are singing the praises of here – and left a message. Heard nothing back, called back the following Monday, and was told “so sorry, too late to do anything”.

    If they really were interested in addressing issues, they’d have a phone number posted somewhere that the public AT the festival could call and point out issues while they could do something about it. All NH County would have to do is get ONE prepaid cell phone for less than $50 for the festival and toss it when done if they didn’t want real cell phone numbers getting out. Post that number on the permits, and have someone answer and call inspectors on their real cell to go look.

    They get the money for the permits, and the “inspectors” wander the festival, while being paid OT, so all must be well!

  • Brian

    Must you rely on a government inspector to tell you that something is safe to eat or not? Apparently you were able to discern for yourself that something was amiss, and passed on the food.

  • Guest333

    Welcome to my world. I see the same things you see. And the media plays right into it. Truth doesnt exist anywhere in New Hanover Co. Im 50 yo. Born and raise there. But now I moved because of the hypocrisy and taxes. No one can make NHC home because the politicians have it up for sale everyday. They will do anything to make taxes or ciatations.

  • GuestTo44

    because they are not themselves when they are hungry. How many people get sick or food poisoning at the Azalea Festival. According to online sources, for the last 8 years, only 1 person, let me repeat, ONE, Uno, 1, singular, has actually claimed to have gotten sick.

  • GuestO’Day

    So, this means that our Azalea Festival has a better health and safety record than Carnival Cruise Lines! Great!


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