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Buying from a Food Truck? – Is It Safe?

I’m thinking about how many times it has happened that I’m playing a video game or browsing and felt hungry to the extent that I thought to myself that it would be a good idea just to get out and look for a food truck nearby (yes I am aware that there is Uber Eats. But I do love me a good food truck). Truth be told, it has happened many, many times. For those of you who don’t know what food trucks are, let’s just say that food trucks, as well as any other outdoor vendors, are convenient for purchasing a quick meal when you are famished. However, we need to ask ourselves whether food trucks are as safe as restaurants? After all, what is stopping them from just selling their product and driving far away never to be seen again in the same neighborhood? Of course, it is not exactly how things work, but still, the topic does warrant closer examination.

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Food Trucks Inspection

Just like any restaurant, food truck business must obtain a license before selling their goods. In other words, when you see a food truck on the street, the chances are that the merchant is licensed and certified in that jurisdiction. Furthermore, you have every right to ask the person behind the counter to show you the latest health inspection report. Alternatively, you can search for the report online as in many places that kind of public information is posted on the internet. In other words, if you are having your doubts about a specific place, this would be the best way to make an informed decision.

Cross-Contamination Of The Food

In order for food trucks to obtain license and certification, they need to meet certain standards, in terms of equipment. This usually entails that a fridge, a hot-holding unit, and access to water need to fit inside the truck. It should not come as a surprise that food trucks rely on a single employee to prepare the food, serve it and charge the customers, considering how cramped the interior of the truck is. In other words, it is advised that you pay close attention to the worker, as there is plenty of room for cross-contamination, given the circumstances they work in.

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Be On Your Guard

A food truck employee never knows whether a customer is, in fact,  a food inspector in disguise, so it is always in their best interest to keep everything in order and pay attention to hygiene. That being said, you should still pay attention to a few things:

  • Is the employee wearing the same gloves when they prepare different types of meals?
  • How frequently is the employee washing their hands?
  • Is the hot food they are serving steaming hot and is the cold food indeed cold? Temperature can be an issue during summer, so it is not advisable for anyone to consume the food that’s been sitting in the sun.

If all of the abovementioned things check out, it should be okay for you to eat there. Remember to always be on a lookout regardless whether you eat at a restaurant or food truck, since the regular inspection is not an ideal safety measure for your health and the degree of responsibility falls on you as well.