State Inspectors to Check Iowa State Fair Concession Games, Food Vendors

DES MOINES – Personnel from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) will conduct an inspection of the Iowa State Fair concession games at 1 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018.  Staff from the Social & Charitable Gambling Unit will be checking the amusement concession games to make sure that they are appropriately licensed, and that the games are conducted in a fair and honest manner. Representatives from the Iowa State Fair and the Iowa Department of Public Safety (IDPS) will accompany DIA staff on the inspection.

DIA inspectors yearly conduct checks of all games of skill or games of chance at the Iowa State Fair. State regulators make sure the object of each game is attainable and possible for the average person to perform under the rules of the game. Additionally, inspectors make sure that the rules of the game are clearly posted, the maximum base cost to play each game is not more than $5, and that all prizes are awarded in merchandise.

“State law does not require that each game at a fair or carnival be winnable,” said DIA Director Rod Roberts. “However, the games must be fair and the results must be attainable by the average individual without the assistance of special skills or devices.”

In addition to the concession game inspections, a team of food safety specialists from DIA’s Food & Consumer Safety Bureau will begin inspecting and licensing the food vendors on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018.  “There are more than 200 food vendors slated to operate during this year’s Iowa State Fair,” Roberts continued, adding:  “This number is greater than the number of food establishments in many Iowa communities.”

DIA’s food safety specialists will be on the fairgrounds throughout the Fair to make sure that all food items are prepared and served in accordance with Iowa’s food safety laws.  Additionally, the specialists respond to food safety concerns expressed by fairgoers. “Typically the most common food safety issue encountered is temperature abuse,” the Director said.  “Keeping cold foods cold during the hot summer days can be a challenge,” Roberts added.  

The Department’s Social and Charitable Gambling Unit is responsible for licensing and regulating all amusement concession games, as well as bingo operations, raffles, and registered amusement devices. DIA’s Food & Consumer Safety Bureau oversees Iowa food safety inspection program and is responsible for the licensing of more than 24,000 food establishments and food processing plants statewide.