Are Food Trucks Inspected Enough?

January 2017

As a food vendor, you may wonder how the health and sanitation standards for your business stack up. This month's article from food vendor veteran, Chris Ford, takes an in-depth look at the findings of one county's grand jury report.

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Are Food Trucks Inspected Enough?

by Chris Ford

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The San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury issued a report, detailing its recommendations for food truck inspections in the County. The recommendation came after a recent study revealed a significantly sharp increase in food truck permits over the last few years. Grand jury Foreman, Bruce MacMillan told The Daily News that food trucks aren't inspected as rigorously or as frequently as brick and mortar restaurants, and their report recommends some changes.

MacMillan reassured the public that the review and report weren't the result of an increase in food poisoning incidents or inspection failures, but a proactive reaction to the increase in the food truck population on the streets in San Mateo County. "For the restaurants it's pretty rigorous, but unfortunately for the food trucks it's not as rigorous," MacMillan said. "It could be dangerous - and I emphasize could be - over the long term."

The examination and report come as no surprise, though. Earlier this year, San Diego County revamped its inspection standards for food trucks, and now requires that food trucks post inspection grades at all times.

San Francisco and Los Angeles have re-examined their health and safety inspection standards multiple times in the last two years, and news sources in Sacramento recently reported that nearly 60% of the food trucks operating in the county were cited during inspections, and that several couldn't pass repeated inspections, despite the fact that they were scheduled and announced.

At the end of 2011, there were 146 food trucks in operation in San Mateo County, a 46% increase, and nearly 3,800 restaurants, according to the report. Interestingly, the Grand Jury found that the number of food poisoning incidents between food trucks and brick and mortar restaurants is actually about the same. It's the increasing popularity of food trucks, combined with fewer and less rigorous inspections and an overall low reporting rate of food-related illnesses that concerns the Grand Jury.

A pale comparison to counties like San Diego, with 1,100 food trucks and Los Angeles County with a staggering 6,000 food trucks, MacMillan feels the time is right to examine inspection practices and standards, before the population explodes. "It's not only the number of food trucks that has increased fairly dramatically," MacMillan said, "But it's also a dramatic change in the cuisine that's been offered, so we wanted to take a look."

Read more here!

Don't Forget to Search All Years!

As promoters are wrapping up their 2016 details, it might take them a bit to get around to updating their event for 2017. But don't let that deter you!

You can still search for events for next year even if they haven't been updated yet. When you're doing a search, be sure to select "all years." This will keep events from the previous year in your search. You'll be able to use that previous year's info to estimate what to expect for next year, and you can always call the promoter to confirm any details. Many of the details in reoccurring events remain the same from year to year.

We work diligently all year round to get updated event information as soon as it's available, but keep this tip in mind if you're not quite finding the events you're looking for.

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