Back before kids, Dani and I lived in Kansas for a few months and spent every weekend traveling around the state looking for quirky stuff to do and see.
And fried chicken.
Our boys are now old enough (and manageable enough) for day trips and we’re going to hit a few events here in North Carolina this summer – and some will have food trucks and concession stands.
Festival food vendors have have been linked to multiple outbreaks in the past including over 800 cases of salmonellosis at the Taste of Chicago and 37 cases of E. coli O157 linked to Folklorama which led to this research on training temporary event vendors).
According to Greensboro NC’s WFMY, festival vendors aren’t exactly the same as the restaurants when it comes to inspection.
90 percent of food vendors at festivals don’t get inspected by the health department. Here’s why. They serve baked, sweet or frozen items. Bakeries, ice cream parlors and popcorn places aren’t considered restaurants. The department of agriculture regulates them instead. But the health department does inspect mobile food trucks and even push carts.
James Howell’s hot dog push cart has a perfect 100 sanitation score. “Safety is probably number one and then the product that you use is number two in a business like this.”
Health inspector Paula Cox says just because the food business is on wheels doesn’t mean vendors get to roll on by un-noticed. “It’s a very condensed, mini-inspection – but it still follows the same process that we look for when we’re looking at a larger place. It’s just a smaller menu.”
Push carts are inspected twice a year. But the only day that really matters is the day you eat from one. Paula says watch how the cart operator works:
- Do they wear gloves when handling food?
- Do they use utensils to dish out or serve food?
- Do they have a way to sanitize their hands between food and money handling?
All good stuff for a patron to look for.