Last year a Philadelphia food truck exploded killing a mother and her daughter who were working the food truck and injuring a handful of other customers and passers-by. It was a shocking incident especially since it was caught on video. Officials are saying that the sudden spike in food trucks took many cities by surprise so much so that there appears to be a lack in planning especially with regards to safety.
According to IBISWorld, food trucks have grown by an average of 8.4% in the past 5 years. It is expected that by 2017, the food truck industry would be raking in sales of US$2.7 billion in the United States alone.
Safety Protocol for Food Trucks
In order to stay well within the safety zone as a food business, food truck owners have to follow minimum safety protocols. They are:
Prevention of Food Contamination and Sanitation
Salmonella poisoning is serious and can cause young children and seniors to end up in the hospital with severe infections. It is more common during the summer months when the food trucks are out with a vengeance. It is caused by food contamination and poor food handling. For example, if you touch raw eggs and then touch the plates that will be used to put cooked food, you are cross contaminating your plates. If you find a roach in your truck and kill it or handle pets before cooking, you could contaminate the food. Unfortunately, contaminated food does not look contaminated.
To avoid this kind of problem:
- Wear gloves
- Assign only one person to handle raw ingredients
- Change gloves everyday
Other sanitation problems are falling hair, dirty hands and nails, and servers that do not bathe and shampoo daily. You should also clean your truck before you open and after you close for the day.
The Danger of Propane Tanks
The explosion in Philadelphia was caused by a propane tank leak. Usually, you will hear a hissing sound if there is a leak but it does not always happen. If you smell something like rotten eggs, check your tank. You can do a spot check by applying some bubbly soap to the tank’s main valve. If there are bubbles, you can be sure there is a leak. Shut down immediately and call your supplier. Also, to make sure your tank isn’t leaking, have a supplier who is licensed and has a good reputation. Do not accept tanks that are badly maintained and buy an electronic leak detector. You should also have good ventilation.
Safety measures should be one of your primary concerns because your food truck can affect the lives of others and expose them to danger and risk to life and limb which insurance cannot always correct.