As a food truck owner you are not only responsible for the health and safety of your employees, but of ensuring the customers don’t walk away from your service window with a food borne illness. By definition, “A food borne illness is any illness resulting from food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, chemicals or poisons.” By following the following 5 steps you can almost eliminate the chance of food truck food borne illnesses.
5 Steps To Prevent Food Truck Food Borne Illnesses
Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food. We understand you have a limited amount of water on board, but for safety reasons, make sure you don’t skip this step.
Clean cutting boards, utensils, and work surfaces with a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water or properly mixed sanitizer solution.
If your health department doesn’t require you to wear gloves, at least wear them when working on food being served without being cooked (think salads and cold sandwiches).
Don’t Cross Contaminate
Cross contamination is the transfer of harmful types of bacteria from one food item to another. To avoid cross contamination keep the juices of raw meat, poultry and fish away from other food.
This can be accomplished by properly storing items in your refrigerator (example: keep meat on lowest shelf, vegetables on the top shelves).
Cook To Proper Temperatures
Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
All poultry items should have an internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. For quality, remember that cooked meat will continue cooking (anywhere from 5-10%) after it’s been removed from the heat source.
Serve At Proper Temperatures
Not only must you and your food truck staff members cook food to the proper temperature, but they must serve it at the right heat to prevent the potential for food truck food borne illnesses. Hot foods typically need to be served at 140 °F or warmer and cold at 40 °F or colder.
Store At Proper Temperatures
One of the most important aspects of preventing food truck food borne illness is how you store your products. Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer (if you have one) with an appliance thermometer.
Refrigerators should be kept at 40 °F or below and freezers at 0 °F or below. Make sure you mark all food containers or packages with the proper expiration dates.
The Bottom Line
We hope that by following these 5 steps you are able to prevent giving food truck food borne illnesses to your customers and staff members.