Mobile food trucks and food safety

Food trucks must adhere to specific procedures for food safety.

Mobile food: we have all seen them at local sports events, outdoor festivals, on college campuses. Moveable food isn’t new, however the distinct culinary array of cultural and ethnic fusion formed into gourmet delights now appear everywhere by food trucks with ambitious chefs. Food trucks can grow into a flourishing business and like any food business, must adhere to specific procedures for food safety.

Operational challenges in preparing, cooking and serving their customers, as well as active managerial control of foodborne illness risk factors are but a few of the concerns for these mobile food transports. Business owners must keep the truck and employees on target with food safety while servicing customers, always adhering to a plan of action and execution of that plan.

Food Safety Magazine and Michigan State University Extension recommend that food truck operators follow food safety practices outlined below. As in any food business, employee health and hygiene, adequate cooking, proper holding, protection from contaminated equipment and approved food sources are key to successfully minimizing pathogens and bacteria that can close down any food site. There are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that must be in place that are very different from the SOPs typical for “brick-and-mortar food establishments”. Examples would be:

  • Proper filling of the freshwater tank before each use
  • Proper wastewater discharge after each use
  • Power source availability to maintain operation of lighting and equipment at location
  • Proximity of truck to restroom facilities at location
  • Working conditions of food equipment when truck is in transit

As with any food business the rewards and challenges can be many, keeping food safe and customers healthy is important to any food establishment, whether rolling down the road or stationary in the neighborhood. Food truck operators will profit from adherence to these procedures, making their mobile transports a welcoming respite for a bite to eat.

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