Food Safety At the Food Truck
Have you picked up a tasty meal from a food truck? You’re not alone. Food trucks are one of these fastest-growing parts of the restaurant industry, with estimates of between 4000-5000 nationwide in 2017. While they are trendy in college towns and on the coasts, we even see them here in Logan and surrounding counties. I enjoy the variety of cuisines available from our local food trucks, and the cost is often much lower than traditional restaurants, at around $10-15 per person.
Food safety is also critical to the food truck industry. Here are some tips to help you have a safe, fun dining experience.
1) Check it out before you order: Does the truck appear clean? Are the counters, preparation areas, and tongs clean? Is there a health inspection certificate within view? Are employees wearing gloves and washing their hands? If long hair pulled back or in a net? Do you see any unwelcome pests, such as insects?
2) Observe the preparation if possible. If they are handling both meat and produce, are they prepared on separate surfaces to avoid cross-contamination?
3) Are temperatures being measured? It’s impossible to tell if food is hot enough by merely looking at it—a thermometer should be used. Does the truck appear to have adequate refrigerator space?
4) If you eat part of your food truck meal, be sure to refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours. If it’s sweltering out (as it's been in the last few weeks), get your food into the fridge within one hour.
5) If you think you’ve contracted food poisoning from a food truck, consider a visit to your doctor, or hospital if necessary. Notify your local health department so they can track reports and monitor for a potential outbreak.