In terms of health and safety, food trucks are held to the same standards as traditional restaurants. This means you will often have to deal with health inspections.
Whether you built your food truck online with the help of a manufacturer, or made one yourself, health department inspections are necessary before and after your business license is approved.
Health inspections protect consumers from food-related risks. As long as you keep your kitchen in reasonable shape and avoid any major violations, your business will not be in any danger of closure.
So how often do food trucks get inspected and how can you prepare for them? Find out more below.
Who Conducts Inspections on Food Trucks?
Government officials conduct food truck health inspections at the local, federal, or state level. These inspectors are experts in proper food quality, preparation, and maintenance practices.
How Often Do Food Truck Inspections Happen?
Routine inspections happen once a year, though at no specific time. Food truck inspectors typically come unannounced. As such, it is important to always be prepared for an unscheduled inspection.
What to Expect During a Food Truck Health Inspection
There are different types of health inspections, including:
- Routine inspection. It happens once a year when the inspector drops in unannounced to ensure you comply with industry regulations. This type of inspection verifies that your business is sanitary in every process.
- Complaint inspection. A complaint inspection is the most serious and can happen anytime, provided a customer gets sick or files a complaint about possible food safety.
- Follow-up inspection. A follow-up inspection happens after a food truck business receives ample time to rectify a previous violation and heed warnings.
During either of these inspections, you can expect the inspector to:
- Conduct food truck inspections to ensure compliance with local, federal, and state health codes
- Issue fines or citations in case of serious violation
- If necessary, collect samples to trace the possible sources of food poisoning outbreaks
- Prepare inspection reports post-inspection
- Educate your staff on safe food handling and preparation.
It is impossible to determine what the inspector will do during the unannounced visits. Being prepared can help you be on good terms with health inspectors during random visits.
How to Stay Prepared in case of A Random Inspection
Below are the key things you need to check to stay prepared for a random food truck inspection:
- Ensure every food on your food truck is safe for consumption
- Ensure every food storage container is labeled appropriately
- Separate raw meat from already-cooked food
- Ensure food left out in the preparation area isn’t exposed for a long time
- Store food items, especially meat and dairy products, at the correct temperature
- Ensure you serve cooked food immediately or refrigerate it as soon as possible.
- Ensure every component of your freezers and refrigerators are well functioning
- Store cleaning products or products with toxic chemicals away
- Ensure you have a reserved handwashing spot
- Ensure your truck is well-ventilated and equipped with all the necessary systems
More importantly, ensure all your licenses and permits are in order. Keep updated records of everything you own in your food truck for maximum accountability during a random inspection.
Stay Prepared Ahead of Food Truck Inspection
Do food trucks get inspected? Yes, they do. But it’s nothing to stress about. As long as you keep your kitchen clean and avoid major health violations, your business will not be shut down.
At Legion food trucks, we guarantee that every food truck we produce will pass the initial health department inspection. We have relationships with several health departments in the state of California and can ensure there will be no surprises for you on inspection day.