Are food trucks inspected like restaurants

Food trucks and food safety - a look at mobile hygiene


With new and trending food trucks quickly becoming a prestigious food venue, the focus on them as a new business opportunity has grown immensely. Opening of a brick and mortar site. Not only are they a minor barrier to entry into the food industry, but general management requirements make them a tempting option for those starting a new business.

As is expected with any business, the small size and mobility of food trucks comes with their share of disadvantages. One of the most notable issues related to space. Most grocery truck owners are faced with managing high food quality standards in a much tighter state.

This means less space to work at about the same level as a standard brick and mortar restaurant. This reduced space increases the difficulty of cleaning and disinfecting with easy opportunities for food poisoning from cross contamination and human error from food safety practices.

Improper food truck management and safety

While food trucks are an easier option to enter the mobile food space, they still have a high percentage of downtime with around 60% of food truck companies closing within three years of opening.

At a glance, this number is amazing, but it's not surprising. According to data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, they found that about 27% of food trucks in the city received a grade lower than an A from health inspections in the past two years. By comparison, only 5% of restaurants in the same city missed the mark on their inspection reports.

This shows that despite the increasing popularity of trucks, they are facing greater challenges related to food health and safety.
Food truck operators, like restaurant owners, are required by law to post their latest food safety inspection reports on their windows. This standard procedure is carried out to provide a point of reference for consumers when deciding which mobile street food is the best option to satisfy their hunger.

What about the food trucks that don't make the cut? As the LA Times reported, food truck hygiene issues range from gross to dangerous. Rodent infestation and droppings are among the most common and worrying finds. What is worse, however, is that the food safety inspection services are not always well staffed. In LA, for example, only 40% of trucks and mobile grocery carts were inspected in 2014.

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The Harsh Reality of Food Truck Management

While many of the problems associated with food truck management seem to stem from a lack of effort on behalf of the business owner, it really only touches a small part of the problem. Most of the food safety challenges related to food trucks are due to their size.

Despite the ease of getting into the opening of a food truck, they are still quite difficult to manage. The work space for chefs is often much smaller than a personal kitchen. This makes several aspects of maintaining sanitary conditions on a truck that much more involved.

Trucks that keep their products and other ingredients on board are at risk of rodent infiltration. Smaller rooms also mean easier access for external pests and an increased risk of complete contamination of all stored food, since the space is not available.
While risks associated with external pests is one of the most common problems with owning a food truck, additional risks are also-

  • Cross-contamination with ready-to-eat foods
  • Insufficiently disinfected surfaces
  • Improper cooling
  • Improper hand washing procedures

These risks present an inherent challenge to truck owners when it comes to determining whether their food is safe to eat. However, as with restaurant management failures, almost any truck food safety failure can be addressed using a comprehensive set of standard operating procedures.

Standard operating procedures

The simple truth is that it is hard to maintain safe food standards in the limited space provided by a food truck. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. In fact, food truck management can be made easy with the right tools. The following steps can help minimize the potential risks of a foodborne disease outbreak-

1. Wash your hands and change your gloves regularly .

It may seem obvious, but dirty hands are one of the easiest ways to spread foodborne diseases. Washing your hands immediately before and after any type of food handling is critical to maintaining the highest standards of hygiene for your food truck business.
This applies not only to those who prepare the meal, but also to all employees. Also, always make sure that everyone washes their hands after dealing with money to avoid posing a health risk to your consumers.

2. Correctly store chilled food . The

Storing food at 40F or lower is necessary to minimize bacterial growth. This emphasizes the importance of having the right equipment on hand to ensure your food doesn't end up in the danger zone.

In addition, some foods can only be refrigerated until they are either used or thrown away. It is extremely important that grocery truck owners pay close attention to expiration dates while storing their groceries and other items.

3. Cleaning and disinfection of all food preparation and cooking stations

To avoid cross-contamination and food poisoning issues, clean all-

  • Utils
  • Cutting boards
  • Pots and pans
  • Hands
  • Other surfaces in contact with food

These precautions are necessary to ensure that food is safe to eat while avoiding food health hazards.

4. DoFamiliarize yourself with local health codes do this

Understanding the codes put in place by your state and local health departments related to food safety is of paramount importance in developing a comprehensive strategy for your mobile grocery business. Given the requirements set by the state or county, food truck operators are much better equipped to manage their businesses more effectively within compliance standards and avoid visits from health officials.
For a complete list of the regulations required by each state, see the FDA website.

5. Keep a reliable thermometer in the truck

Temperature control is one of the recurring challenges that every grocery store must overcome. To ensure that your employees have access to a reliable temperature measuring device or thermometer, you need to ensure that the mobile kitchens you serve are within a temperature range that does not encourage the spread of microorganisms.

6. Wash all products

In recent years, food poisoning-related outbreaks of bacterial products have been a problem with Hot-Taste sold by grocers in the United States.
Dirty products pose a health risk to mobile restaurants in their own right, as it is not easy to tell that your products have disease-causing bacteria on them. To be sure that you have removed potentially harmful bacteria, it is imperative that all products are hand washed before they are prepared for consumption.


Food trucks offer the newer in the food and hospitality industry easier access to an otherwise very competitive industry. Despite this increased accessibility, there are still challenges and strategies that need to be implemented when opening your business.

  • Providing the highest standards of care for your food storage can prevent the spread of a foodborne disease outbreak and infestation by rodents and other pests.
  • Establishing a comprehensive list of standard operating procedures is necessary to keep yourself and employees at bay when handling food interactions.

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    Try it free for 14 days.