Even when you are an experienced Food Trucker, the mention of ‘health inspection’ is sure to create some kind of anxiety in you. Health inspectors have the power to close down your truck any day, put you in jail and fine if you don’t pass their big test and to make matters harder they take note of the most minute details and specific rules of how your truck should be run. However that does not deter business owners from food truck vending. Since the late 2000s the popularity of food truck has sky rocketed capturing even the attention of city officials and regulators.
With popularity comes great responsibility and as such food truck vendors have to be extra careful in managing the food items they vend out to the masses. Passing health inspections is the ultimate mark set for them and it has become stricter with as much as 11,000 illegal food truck vendors operating within Los Angeles country itself according to Health Department survey. Typically, an inspector visits your truck once a year and here are some tips to prepare yourself beforehand.
Health inspections aren’t same in all countries so it is wise to know beforehand what the laws are like in your country before opening a business. Typically most cities run inspection 1- 2 times yearly on an average. Some cities conduct random inspections while others inform you. The best way to ascertain you pass the test is to conduct your own inspection on a weekly or bi- weekly basis.
Areas to focus on:
Food ingredients, preparation and storage
- All the food on the truck is safe for consumption.
- Storage containers are appropriately labelled and products are dated timely.
- Leftover foods in the preparation area are not left exposed for a long time.
- Food items are kept at right temperatures.
- Food is served or refrigerated quickly after cooking.
Behaviors of employee
- Each employee practice safe hand washing techniques.
- Meat thermometers are used to assure proper cooking of meat.
- Employees keep up to date on information and practices regarding food safety, cooking procedures and handling food.
- Employees are clean, healthy, and wear protective wear.
- Personal items of employees are kept away from preparation areas.
- Freezers and refrigerators include thermometers inside.
- Products containing toxic chemicals or products used for cleaning are kept safely.
- The truck has a specific area or sink meant specifically for washing hands.
- The truck is equipped with proper ventilation and other required systems.
- Food preparation areas and services are sanitized and in working condition.
- Food waste and other garbage are properly disposed.
- The truck is clean inside out and running.
- There are no pests.
- Permits and licenses are kept in order.
- There is proper record of all things including schedules, cleaning, ingredients etc.
- Records are maintained in a daily basis.
Be official when you conduct the self inspection and schedule it randomly. Also examine everything minutely and review your results.
Image by Infrogmation of New Orleans