What to Expect at a Food Truck Inspection
Every restauranteur learns quickly to be prepared. Health inspections can happen at any time, without any notice. This fact of life is just as true for food truck owners. No one wants a health citation. They are bad for business and could even shut you down. Luckily, when you know what to expect, you can always keep your food truck compliant with heath codes. When you’re prepared, you don’t have anything to fear.
Food Equipment Check
Inspectors will check your cooking equipment to make sure that it is clean, sanitary, and that refrigerators and freezers are in working order at the appropriate temperatures. Cleaning products should be stored away from the food, and your truck must be properly ventilated. Also, be sure to familiarize yourself with what is and isn’t allowed to be done on your truck. This can vary from state to state, so do your homework. You must have a separate space for those tasks that aren’t permitted inside the truck.
Food Storage Check
Proper storage of food is a must at any restaurant, but it’s even more important on a food truck because of high interior temperatures. Raw meat must be stored in such a way that it won’t contaminate anything else in the truck. Cooked foods should be served right away. Anything that isn’t served up hot should be quickly refrigerated. Meats, dairy, and other perishable foods need to be stored at the appropriate temperatures. Finally, make sure to toss anything that has passed its expiration date or gone bad. If you and your staff develop healthy food storage habits, you will always be ready for a surprise inspection.
Of course, the first thing most health inspectors will want to see is your documentation. Have your licenses, permits, and business records on hand and in order at all times. That way, you won’t be scrambling when your number comes up. Keep your forms up to date, and maintain meticulous records of cleanings, menus, ingredients, employee shifts, food rotation, and more. (*Pro tip: having your docs easily accessible makes booking for caterings and schedulings simpler, too!)
Inspections can be nerve wracking but try to remember that health inspectors aren’t the enemy. Their job is to help you keep your customers safe from food-borne illnesses. In addition to performing annual inspections, food inspectors are there to help you learn better food safety skills. Even if you are issued a citation, you will be given the chance to fix the problem and try again.
As a food truck owner, there’s a lot to think about. Keeping your customers safe is just one of those things. Another thing to think about is your own safety, and the safety of your team. Read some or our food truck safety tips.