Jul 14, 2014

Are Food Trucks Safe?

Are food trucks safe? Depends who you ask?  We are a house divided.  My husband and I would not answer this question the same.  I'll tell you why in a moment.  The number of food truck vendors exploded during the recession as entrepreneurs followed their dreams to serve anything from ice cream to Southern Mexican fusion to sushi.  The diverse menus, lower prices (for some), and mobility make them very popular.

Do you think food trucks are safe?  Have you ever wondered what happens and how it happens in such a small space on a truck?  I must admit, I look past the person taking my order to get as much of an inside view of the truck that is preparing my food as possible.  I do this as well at restaurants.  Mostly because I am a foodie and I am always curious.

Last summer, my husband got food poison from a food truck and has been hesitant ever since.  After this incident I decided to do some research to get the facts and arm myself with enough ammunition to convince hubby to not give up on all food trucks. This is what I learned.....

A recent study from, The Institute of Justice, titled "Street Eats, Safe Eats" contends that food trucks are actually safer and less complex than restaurant kitchens. In fact in many states, food trucks are subjected to the same regulations as restaurants. Researchers throughly analyzed 260,000 food safety inspection reports in seven major cities across the US including Miami, Seattle, Boston, Las Vegas, Louisville, and Washington DC.

Bottom Line...Food truck kitchens are smaller and less complicated so there are fewer opportunities to violate food safety rules.

The conclusion of the study contends that the notion or idea that food trucks are not safe is a myth.

We are fortunate to live in an area where food truck parks are all over the city.  It is a fun family outing to enjoy a sampling of foods and relax on the lawn.  My kids love to throw the football or frisbee while we catch up with old friends and make new ones.  It is a great way to picnic without needing to pack up your own food. In our community once a week throughout the summer, locals convene in the park to enjoy their favorite food trucks.  Some families make it a weekly ritual, which makes it nice to have a day off from cooking.

Armed with research and a little manipulation through the kids, I convince my husband to give food trucks another try.  Believe me when I tell you I was one happy Mamma.  Check out what I ate...

Pulled Pork BBQ Grits

Grilled Lamb Burger with Feta Cheese Sauce

 Pimento Cheese and Red Jalapeño Deviled Eggs

Sesame and Chili Oil French Fries with Sriracha Ketchup

Orange Strawberry and Salted Chocolate Popsicles

Regardless of where you eat, you are placing a level of trust in the hands of those that prepare the food you eat.  Inspections are important and necessary to encourage the food industry to avoid short cuts that could affect our health and safety.

Food trucks though mobile rely on repeat business just like restaurants.  They are not in business to make anyone ill and want you to not only come back, but want you to tell all your friends to come as well. Any truck or restaurant that is not using safe practices will not remain in business for long as bad news always travels fast, especially in this social media age.

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