Food Truck Food Safety: 4 Tips for Mobile Chefs
Food safety is a top priority for many food truck owners, and if it isn’t a concern for you, it should be. It’s common for food inspectors to randomly show up at your concession trailer and inspect your kitchen. In 2011, officials inspected 40 percent of high-risk food trucks, and New York City issued over 7,000 violations to mobile food vendors that year. Check out these tips that can help you keep your food safe and pass a surprise inspection.
1. Have Adequate Hand Washing Facilities
Image via Flickr by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget
Of those 7,247 New York City violations, one of the most frequent citations involved inadequate hand washing facilities. To keep your food sanitary for the sake of your customers and to please inspectors, you need to make sure that you have adequate hand washing facilities. What does this mean? For example, the Montgomery County Health Department outlines that proper hand washing facilities include:
- A hand washing sign.
- A separate hand sink with soap and paper towels.
- A supply of hot and cold water.
- A two-compartment sink when serving un-packaged food.
- A three-compartment sink when serving raw potentially hazardous food.
They also say that hand washing sinks must stay accessible and unobstructed and that gloves are not a proper substitute for hand washing. Regulations may change based on where you live, so be sure to check your county’s guidelines.
2. Keep Your Cold Items Cold
Another one of the top citations in New York City was that vendors did not keep their cold items at proper temperatures. This is an important aspect to food safety because food items such as raw meat can quickly go bad in the heat and can make your customers sick. Make sure to have some form of refrigeration unit in your truck to keep your food from going bad. Mobile-Cuisine.com gives a list of tips for keeping your food at the proper temperature. Some of the most important tips they give include:
- Constantly monitor temperatures, including when you purchase the food.
- Don’t accept any food that stored above 41 degrees farenheit.
- Sanitize your thermometer before each use.
- Create a schedule for monitoring food temperatures.
3. Clean All Surfaces
With a mobile kitchen, an important responsibility that you have is to constantly clean all surfaces that food touches. This includes counters, your hands, cutting boards, utensils, stoves, etc. Clean each surface before touching another item of food. This practice reduces cross-contamination between raw and cooked products to ensure that your customers are eating safe food.
4. Know Your Area’s Regulations
Not only is it crucial that you understand licensing regulations in your area, but you should also be familiar with the health regulations that your city or county has in place. Not only will this help you avoid fines, but these rules and regulations are in place to ensure the health of your mobile kitchen. By following these rules, you can make sure that you and your customers stay healthy.
Before you start serving food from your concession trailer, make sure to take these tips into consideration.