Common Question: How Safe are Food Trucks?
In the past few years, the food truck industry has boomed and has become a trendy staple in cities all across America. The food truck allows for a convenient way to transport and sell food to the community, but the necessary safety measures are difficult hurdles to overcome in a cramped space. Food truck owners and consumers alike should be aware of the guidelines and common issues to avoid exposure to foodborne illnesses.
Food trucks are held to the same food safety standards as restaurants and must take the appropriate measures to achieve these standards. The more confined space in food trucks presents certain difficulties that make these standards harder to achieve. Less available preparation surfaces create more opportunity for cross contamination. 27% of food trucks receive lower than an A grade after inspections, in comparison to only 5% of restaurants not meeting the A grade standards. Food trucks are often inspected at a lower frequency than restaurants and their most recent inspection report may not accurately reflect current reflections.
Plumbing is a common issue in food trucks. A clean reliable water source is essential for all aspects of food preparation and sanitation which requires water tanks aboard the truck to consistently be filled with fresh clean water.
If food truck owners opt to store a decent amount of their produce and other foods on board, there are many factors to keep in mind. Rodents are an issue in food trucks that store their ingredients on the truck, especially if containers are not properly sealed. Food trucks are essentially large metal boxes and temperatures inside the food truck can reach up to 140°F in the summer. It is therefore essential for foods to be stored in the proper holding temperatures to prevent the growth of bacteria and pathogens.
The limited number of flat surfaces on the truck means that sanitation must frequently occur to prevent cross contamination, especially when working with raw animal products. Gloves are not required to maintain a sanitized environment but are definitely recommended and need to be changed frequently.
It is very important for food truck owners to be aware of the various local codes and inspection requirements as they travel to different areas to ensure they are in compliance with the health safety standards.