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Health Inspections

Calgary food trucks

Calgary’s mobile food fleet has shown that food trucks are no longer deserving of the title “roach coaches”.

CALGARY, ALBERTA – Calgary’s expanding food truck flotilla is passing more than just than the taste test, according to results from this year’s health and safety inspections.

No major issues or high-risk violations were found as most of the mobile eateries were put under the microscope earlier this month. Minor maintenance and equipment-related infractions were cited, but nothing that warranted charges.

Chief Licence Inspector Kent Pallister noted there was some media scrutiny of health violations in 2012, but contended the results are exceedingly positive.

“Now in 2014, I believe our food truck operators are better educated in the health regulations and experienced in what is required so we are now seeing better results upon inspection,” Pallister said.

The City of Calgary is nearing 50 of the four-wheeled food wagons, with 46 permits added out, three pending approval and one new application. There was a 43-truck cap under the two-year pilot program that wrapped up last fall.

Find the entire article at metronews.ca <here>

minnesota department of health logoST PAUL, MN – New food truck operations will pay more to get licensed in St. Paul as a result of the state Department of Health taking over restaurant and business inspections that had been handled by the city.

But that’s not the whole story, say officials with the Minnesota Department of Health. The new reality for food truck vendors is complicated by a series of differences between state and city practices.

Doug Schultz, a spokesman for the state Health Department, said startup food truck operations in St. Paul will pay up to $560, which includes a license fee of $210 and a plan review fee of $250 to $350. Future inspections would cost $266, which is actually a small cost savings for food truck operators in the long run.

Food trucks already licensed by Minneapolis, Ramsey or Hennepin counties or another jurisdiction would not be considered startups and would not have to pay the plan review fee.

The St. Paul Department of Safety and Inspections has been charging food trucks $244 for licensing, regardless of whether they’re a startup, Schultz said. The city’s food trucks have also been paying a separate $35 hospitality fee directly to the state, and that fee is now included in the cost of state inspections.

The overall difference: a $13 savings for established vendors.

In addition, food trucks licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health will be allowed to operate in any city or county where the department handles inspections. In other words, a St. Paul food truck could cross into West St. Paul or another Dakota County municipality without having to be reinspected, but not into Minneapolis.

That’s a potential cost savings that food trucks licensed solely in St. Paul did not enjoy. The switch to the state system, however, also opens the door to more competition from vendors coming from outside the city.

Find the entire article by Frederick Melo at twincities.com <here>

Food Truck Health Inspections

Mobile Cuisine is constantly looking to help the mobile food industry by providing news and information that help not only those who eat from food trucks or carts, but also look to assist the owners and operators of these rolling bistros.

A poor rating from a health inspector can keep your business closed for a few days, or even close you permanently. Because of this, in this article we will take a basic look at a common area of consumer concern: food truck health inspections.

The Basics Of Food Truck Health Inspections

The Health Inspection

Health inspections are designed to protect the dining public from food related illnesses that can result if foods are not handled or prepared properly.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the main governing body for America’s food handling processes. The FDA Food Code outlines specific rules on which state and county health departments model their retail food regulations.

The Health Inspector

Food truck health inspections are conducted by government officials at either the federal, state or local level. The typical health inspector has a college science degree and is a specialist trained in proper food quality, maintenance and preparation practices.

The main tasks of a health inspector include the following:

  • Educate mobile restaurateurs and staff on safe food handling and preparation.
  • Conduct inspections of food trucks and carts to assure local, state and federal health codes are being followed.
  • Issue citations or fines in cases of egregious violation.
  • Collect samples, if necessary, to trace the possible sources of a food poisoning outbreak.
  • Prepare inspection reports that are available online or on public record at a local office.

Types of Food Truck Health Inspections

Though health regulations and inspection processes can vary from county to county, there are at least three types of health inspections that can occur at your truck or cart.

  • Routine Inspection: During this unannounced visit, the inspector looks at all aspects of a food truck or cart to assure compliance with the local food regulations. Everything from employee handwashing practices to trash disposal are looked at during routine inspections.
  • Complaint Inspection: Usually a customer has either become sick or filed a complaint about possible unsafe practices. Just because a complaint has been filed does not mean the condition exists, but you can be assured the inspector will give your kitchen the white glove treatment and may even take samples of questionable material.
  • Follow-Up Inspection: This inspection will occur after a mobile vendor has been given a certain amount of time to correct critical violations. If the inspector says, “I will be back in two weeks to check on your progress”, be sure to take them seriously.

Please Note: This article is a generalization of food truck health inspections and the process involved in them. Please reference your local Food Code or health department for specific governing rules and procedures.

If there is any general information you feel could be added to our list of basic food truck health inspections guide, please feel free to add them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

Nearly 60 Percent Food Trucks Cited During Inspections


SACRAMENTO, CA – Food trucks are not held to the same standards as brick and mortar restaurants, according to the Sacramento County Environmental Health Division. Supervising Environmental Specialist Zarha Ruiz said food trucks are generally inspected once a year, while traditional restaurants are inspected about three times a year.

Restaurant owners like Chris Nestor of House Kitchen and Bar, receive surprise inspections, according to Ruiz. “If we were to schedule an appointment, I think there might be some special arrangements that happen as they wait for us,” Ruiz said. “They come in any time they want,” Nestor said. “It is pretty stressful.”

However, Ruiz said mobile food trucks get to schedule their yearly inspections because they are hard to track down.

“These mobile vehicles… it’s all over the board,” Ruiz said.

During an inspection, Ruiz said food trucks don’t have to be open for business, so an inspector could approve a truck to operate without seeing any of the menu items being prepared. Often, the trucks meet inspectors in the county Health Division parking lot. Their counters are often spotless, with no customers to deal with, no employees around and no food on the grill.

KCRA 3 asked how inspectors can approve the trucks without seeing them in action.

“Well, when we do a fixed-facility inspection, it is also a snap shot,” Ruiz said. “So, we rely on a lot of the fixed things we can look at.” Ruiz said some of those things include refrigeration and hot and cold running water. According to Health Division records, nearly 60 percent of the food trucks inspected last year had a least one violation, and more half of them were so critical the truck had to be re-inspected before getting approved for business.

“Can you imagine what it’s like when they are not being inspected?” Nestor asked.

Lisandro Madrigal owns Chando’s tacos. His food truck failed two scheduled inspections in a row last year when he was cited for a lack of hot and cold water. “Things happen, things break,” Madrigal said. “We fixed the issue, addressed it, and made sure we were compliant.”

Chando’s isn’t alone.

Find the entire article by KCRA.com <here>

SIDE NOTE: This is a first for us at Mobile Cuisine, we are stunned that Sacramento has such a high citation rate for food trucks. In most other cities across the country, the citation rates of food truck versus restaurants is usually one that has restaurants receiving a higher rate of citations. If you have this information for your city, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below.

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