Food Truck Safety

July 05, 2011

It’s summer time and we're seeing more food trucks on the road than ever. Are they safe?

It’s summer time and we’re seeing more food trucks on the road than ever. SupermarketGuru wants you to fully enjoy the different cuisines that food trucks offer but also to be aware of food safety, especially in the heat of summer.

First off food trucks are mobile, miniature commercial kitchens that must meet all of the same Department of Health requirements as brick and mortar restaurant. Depending on the type of food served, this includes having a three-compartment sink, separate hand sink, and a fire suppression system.

Are food trucks regulated? Yes, for instance in Washington, DC, food trucks follow District regulations, which apply to all street vendors. Food trucks are regularly inspected by the Department of Health, and in addition to their mobile commercial kitchens, food trucks must maintain a second, brick and mortar commercial kitchen that meets Department of Health requirements where they can store and prepare food. Food truck owner-operators must pass a food manager certification test in order to be approved for a District vending license.

In Los Angeles, food truck vendors are subject to the same grading systems as brick and mortar restaurants. Food trucks are visited twice a year by city inspectors and assigned an A, B or C, which is then displayed in a prominent location on the vehicle.

Keep in mind, regulations differ by county and state. Ask your local food vendor about safety regulation and of course use good judgment when choosing a food truck; if you see something you wouldn’t allow in your home kitchen it’s probably in your best interest to choose a different option.

DC Food Truck Association