Keeping Potentially Hazardous Food Safe in Your Food Truck
While almost all municipalities across the country require a food truck to maintain at least one certified Food Service Sanitation Manager on board at all times there is still a risk to the public if one of your non certified employees doesn’t know how to protect them from food borne illnesses.
When it comes to keeping a safe food truck kitchen, we have covered subjects such as how to store your food properly and how to prevent cross contamination of food in the truck. Now it’s time to talk about what exactly your food truck cooks need to be careful with.
The foods listed as being potentially hazardous, are ones that need to be treated with extra care because by nature they are generally involved in more incidents of contamination. Potentially Hazardous Food is a term used by food safety organizations to classify foods that require time-temperature control to keep them safe for human consumption.
Although any type of food can become contaminated, some foods by nature are better able to support bacterial growth than others, and these are the ones we define as potentially hazardous. These foods have not only a history of being involved in cases of food borne illness, they have a natural potential for contamination due to the way they may be handled or processed.
Typically, Potentially Hazardous Foods contain the following:
- Slightly acidic to neutral pH
- Requires extra controls to limit the growth of microorganisms
Potentially Hazardous Foods:
- Meats (beef, pork, lamb)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck)
- Shellfish and crustaceans
- Eggs (except those treated to eliminate Salmonella)
- Milk and dairy products
- Heat-treated plant based food (cooked rice, beans, or vegetables)
- Baked potatoes
- Raw sprouts
- Tofu and soy-protein foods
- Untreated garlic and oil mixtures
Meat should always be handled with care, cleaned up after and cutting boards changed. Always wash your hands after dealing with these items in general, and be sure to cook to the final temperature required for that product. Melons, sprouts and such tend to be eaten raw, so ensuring a good source, and cleaning your produce thoroughly before using and cutting.
To some, this list can be scary, but let’s not let it get out of hand. A few ground rules when you deal with these items, and it will help keep your food truck’s employees and customers safer than you were. Make sure whenever you have one of these items, to wash it if it is washable.
As a food truck owner it is your responsibility to keep your employees and customers safe, so keep you and your staff members up-to date on all sanitation training and keep an eye on recalls from various food suppliers to make sure that the products you are buying are not contaminated.