Today’s Huffington Post article, “Food Truck Secrets: 10 Things Food Trucks Don’t Want You To Know”, food safety holds the third bullet point. Really? Shouldn’t food safety be at the top?
We all know that food trucks clog streets and brick and mortar restaurants are worried about the competition, however, the most important point is the food and food handling.
“Over 2,000 different state and local agencies in the U.S. are responsible for inspecting food trucks, according to the Food and Drug Administration. That means safety standards vary widely across the country. Regulators for the most part require mobile food vendors to have hot and cold running water, a refrigerator, and to dispose of waste properly, but some specific rules can differ. In Los Angeles, food trucks must also park within 200 feet of a bathroom where workers can wash their hands. In Southern Nevada, all food handlers must be certified in food safety, but in some cities only part of the staff must be certified. In New York City, restaurants are given letter grades following health inspections, but not food trucks. In L.A., the trucks also get graded.”
Those differences raise red flags for food safety advocates who want to see national standards for how food is handled and stored on trucks. “We really believe that there should be a uniform food safety system for people regardless of where they are,” says Nancy Donley, a spokeswoman for Stop Foodborne Illness, an advocacy group. For example, she says at least one worker on every truck should be trained in food safety methods. Problems can arise: from 1998 to 2010 there were 53 outbreaks of foodborne illnesses from food prepared at a fair, festival or other mobile food service, infecting 1,186 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And those numbers represent just a fraction of cases, experts say.”
Mayor Bloomberg, let’s pass legislation and mandate restaurant grades to food trucks. Will it will take a foodborne illness from a dirty food truck to make this happen?
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