When you’re starting a food truck business, the last thing you want to worry about is a health inspection. However, if you want to avoid costly fines and even closure, it’s important to make sure your truck is up to code. Your truck must pass an initial health inspection to obtain a permit and license.
Here is a checklist of items you need to prepare for your health inspection.
How Health Inspections Impact Food Truck Licensing
In order for a food truck to be licensed and operational, it must pass a health inspection. The inspection is conducted by a representative from the local health department and looks at a variety of factors, including:
-The food preparation area
-The cooking equipment
-The storage of food
-The handling of food
-The cleanliness of the truck
If any of these areas are not up to code, the inspector will issue a fine. If the violations are serious enough, the food truck may be shut down until the problems are corrected.
To avoid any issues, it’s important to be prepared for your health inspection. Here is a checklist of items you need to have in order:
-A clean and well-organized preparation area
-Cooking equipment that is clean and in good working order
-Food that is properly stored and labeled
-A sanitation plan for food handling
-A clean and sanitary truck
The same checklist will help you keep the food truck up to code after the initial inspection to obtain the proper local permits. Thereafter, health inspections occur without notice. Don’t let them catch you off-guard!
Food Truck Health Inspections: Critical vs Non-Critical Items
Critical health inspection items are those that can result in fines or closure if they are not fixed. Non-critical items are less serious and can usually be corrected with a little bit of effort.
Critical Food Truck Inspection Items
Here is a list of some of the critical health inspection items that you need to be aware of:
-Food preparation area: The food preparation area must be clean and well- organized. The surfaces should be free of dirt, dust, and food debris, and the refrigerators and ovens should be in good working order.
-Cooking equipment: The cooking equipment must be clean and in good repair. Grease and food debris should be cleaned off of the burners, and the oven should be free of any food residue.
-Storage of food: Food must be stored in sealed containers to prevent contamination. Food must also be labeled with the date it was prepared.
-Handling of food: Food must be handled with care to prevent contamination. All food handlers must wash their hands regularly, and food contact surfaces must be sanitized between uses.
-Cleanliness of truck: The truck should be clean and free of dirt, dust, food debris, and pests. All food contact surfaces should be sanitized regularly.
Following these guidelines will help you pass your health inspection and keep your food truck running smoothly.
Non-Critical Food Truck Inspection Items
While the critical food inspection items should be your top priority, there are also a number of non-critical items that you’ll want to consider. These items can usually be corrected with a little bit of effort. Here is a list of some of the non-critical food inspection items:
-Food contact surfaces: All food contact surfaces should be clean and sanitized regularly. This includes the countertops, cutting boards, utensils, and food storage containers.
-Refrigeration: The refrigeration unit should be in good working order and free of food residue. The temperature should be kept at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
-Storage area: The storage area should be clean and free of dirt, dust, food debris, and pests.
-Exterior of truck: The exterior of the truck should be clean and free of dirt, dust, food debris, and pests.
-Interior of truck: The interior of the truck should be clean and free of dirt, dust, food debris, and pests.
Regularly cleaning your food truck will help you stay compliant with health inspection standards and keep your business running smoothly.
Be sure to check with your local health department to get a full list of the specific items they will be inspecting. In general, however, here are some of the more common non-critical items that will be checked:
-Food contact surfaces (sink, countertops, cutting boards) must be clean and free of food debris
-The food truck must have a proper food storage area and coolers to keep food at the correct temperature
-The food truck must have a waste disposal system for food waste
-The food truck must have a hot water source for washing dishes
-All food employees must have proper food safety training
These are just a few of the items that will be checked during a health inspection. Be sure to prepare for them by cleaning and organizing your food truck properly.
Tips for Ongoing Maintenance
It’s important to keep up with good sanitation habits in order to maintain the food truck inspection rating for your food truck. Here are a few tips for keeping your food truck clean and sanitary:
-Sanitize food contact surfaces between uses. This includes the countertops, cutting boards, utensils, and food storage containers.
-Keep food sealed in containers to prevent contamination.
-Wash hands regularly and keep food handler gloves clean.
-Clean the truck regularly to remove dirt, dust, food debris, and pests.
-Keep the refrigeration unit in good working order and store food at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
-Regularly sweep and mop the floors of the food preparation area and truck.
In addition, employ the following tips:
-Food preparation area should be clean and organized at all times
-Cooking equipment should be clean and in good working order and properly maintained
-Food should be stored properly and labeled correctly
-The sanitation plan for food handling must be followed at all times
-Truck should be clean and sanitary at all times
Keep in mind that customers will notice if your food truck is not clean. A dirty food truck gives the impression that you don’t care about your food or your customers. Make sure to keep your food truck clean and sanitary at all times to ensure a positive customer experience.
By following this checklist, you can ensure that your food truck passes health inspections and stays open for business.