Food truck businesses can pose a bigger risk to food safety than brick and mortar restaurants, not because they are dirtier than restaurants or that they aren’t held to the same safety standards, but because the more the food is handled or transported, the greater the risk of bacterial contamination. To prevent a food borne illness issues with customers food truck owners have to keep a watchful eye on employees to make sure safe food handling practices are observed at all times.
Here are 5 tips mobile food vendors can follow in order to maintain food safety standards while at food truck events:
Safe Food Practices
For large food truck events, most food is either prepped ahead of time at a central and then transported to the event or made at an onsite kitchen, if there is one available. Either way, all food must be cooked to the recommended temperatures in order to maintain safe food temperatures.
Insulated Food Carriers
Depending on the size and duration of a food truck event, there is a good chance you may have to reload your food truck with product to prepare and sell. Both hot and cold foods need to be kept at the appropriate temperatures when being transported to the event. The only way for mobile food vendors to assure hot foods are kept hot and cold foods cold while in transit is by using insulated food carriers.
The FDA Food Code stipulates that any food that needs to be reheated must reach an internal temperature of 165 °F for 15 seconds to be considered safe, so be sure that any food items that were cooked off-site then chilled for transport are reheated appropriately to maintain food safety.
Time and Temperature
The two-hour rule still applies for potentially hazardous foods. All hot food needs to be kept above 140 °F and cold food needs to be kept below 40 °F for proper food safety. If the food is outside of this range for more than two hours, that food needs to be thrown away.
Ice, Ice, Baby
At all times, ice that is used to chill food or beverage bottles needs to be kept separate from ice that goes into drinks. Display ice can pick up bacteria and other contaminants from the items it comes into contact with, which can in turn contaminate beverage ice and a customer’s drink.Provide extra protection for food truck events. For these outdoor events, wind, flies and other vermin are potential hazards. The best way to protect against these dangers is by covering all displayed food, throwing all waste in a waste container with a lid, using wind guards on windy days and setting the food tables up underneath a tent.