No matter where your food truck does business, you will always be subject to sanitation and health inspection laws. In places like Washington, DC and California, all food trucks have to have a certified food protection manager. In countries like the Philippines, in many cases, food safety is just a fee you pay to get your license to operate.
However wherever you decide to park your food truck to do business, once a food safety inspector drops by, watch out. In many cases, the violations are enough to cause the shut-down of your business, if not mandatory changes in the way you conduct your food business. In Indiana, a recent health department found violations in 14 food trucks and some of the food trucks had more than one violation.
Some of the most common food violations include:
- No expiration marking on homemade or house-made products
- Improper storage of raw meats, eggs, sauces, dips, and other perishables leading to possible cross contamination
- Improperly stored hot food which should be at a minimum temperature of 135 degrees after cooking
- No approval for reduced oxygen packaging of perishables like meat
- Improper storage of non-refrigerated food products like bread
- Incorrect hot water temperature for cleaning and sanitation purposes
- Not having hot water at all
- Damages seals on coolers, chillers
- Dirty water, utensils, and other unwashed items lying around
- Wrong concentration of sanitation cleaning liquids or not having enough chlorine in your cleaning water
- Employees wiping instead of washing their hands
- Covered or blocked sink
Health authorities admit to being “OC” or over-cautious about cleanliness, safety and sanitation because they want to minimize risks to the buying public. For them, it’s not about probability but of potential. Often, the violations are easily remedied but often forgotten because of bad habits by staff – and this is a window for potential disaster for the food truck owner.
Many food truck owners appreciate the inspections and proudly use their certification of inspection as part of their marketing strategy to convince customers that they take food safety very seriously.