Food Trucks and Implemented Food Safety Regulations

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“By law, food trucks need a license to operate so the local health department can track them for inspections. The actual sign looks different from city to city, but in most cases it will have a date, the name of the town and some type of seal. If you don't spot a license, your city might not require that it be displayed. If they can't produce it, find another place to eat and call the local health department.”

Food truck health inspections are conducted by government officials at either the federal, state or local level. Certain aspects of going into business with a mobile food truck tend to be the same for most entrepreneurs. Determine financing, including whether or not you’ll rent or purchase a food truck and how you’ll pay for food purchases and supplies. These documents are necessary in order for the food truck to operate and do business.

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“Gloves. You might think your biggest worry is that the chicken or beef is undercooked, but you're actually more likely to get sick because a truck employee has bad hygiene. In fact, one of the leading causes of food-borne illness is contamination from someone's filthy hands. Ideally, employees should be wearing gloves when handling your food -- and changing them frequently, like after touching raw food -- to avoid transferring bacteria from their fingers to your falafel, says O. Peter Snyder, president of the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management.”

During this unannounced visit, the inspector looks at all aspects of a food truck or cart to assure compliance with the local food regulations. Everything from employee handwashing practices to trash disposal are looked at during routine inspections. Usually a customer has either become sick or filed a complaint about possible unsafe practices.

Red Flags

“You can get a good idea of someone's hand hygiene by looking at their nails, Snyder notes. Dirt under nails is a breeding ground for bacteria, he says. Nails should be clipped short to limit dirt accumulation. Temperature problems are one of the most common violations in food trucks, says Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for Los Angeles County.”

“Salads and deli sandwiches should feel like they're straight out of the fridge, while soup and burgers should be piping hot. If you have a chance to peer inside the truck, try to find the sink. Look for soap, towels and a clear place for hand-washing.”

The health permit, as mentioned above. «The trick with hair styles is to determine if hair can fall into your food,» Haller said. If so, they need to be wearing gloves. Also, gloves are required in most states when handling ready-to-eat foods like sandwiches or final/cooked ingredients.

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