I avoid potlucks and food trucks

The rise of food trucks as an eating out option requires knowledge of this sector. Balancing the reality of the food truck sector with access to safe food should guide actions and public policies to cater to its peculiarities. Therefore, this study aimed to characterize the Brazilian food truck vendors’ profile regarding their socioeconomic status and compliance with food safety rules.

From the 118 food truck vendors registered in the Brazilian Federal District, 30% (n = 35) participated in the study. We conducted structured interviews from December 2017 to April 2018. We ranked compliance levels according to a five-point Likert scale based on calculated compliance scores. The interviews revealed that food truck vendors were mostly married males, who had completed at least a tertiary education level, and wanted to start up their own businesses. The compliance levels depict good compliance with food safety rules (overall compliance (OC)-score = 0.69, on a 0 to 1 scale).

The food trucks assessed in this study distinguished themselves from the street food and food retail sectors due to their operational structure and the complexity of food production processes. Those particular features should be considered to ensure adequate and effective sanitary control and inspections, as well as to reduce the probability of microbial growth and food contamination and the consequent risk of foodborne illnesses.

Who is serving us? Food safety rules compliance among Brazilian food truck vendors

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Ligia Isonia Auad, Veronica Cortez Ginani, Eliana dos Santos Leandro, et al


Fail: Frozen food trucks in Taiwan

The Consumer Protection Committee (CPC) under the Executive Yuan said yesterday that 73 percent of frozen food trucks failed to meet standards based on the result of random inspections of logistics companies.

taiwan-food-11This situation was first discovered in July, when the temperature in one frozen food truck reached 33 degrees Celsius, which is grossly in violation of food safety laws. Therefore, the CPC decided to cooperate with local health and transportation authorities to inspect additional logistics companies.

The CPC inspected 35 companies and 80 vehicles including 48 frozen food trucks. The results revealed 35 out of 48 frozen food trucks did not keep sufficiently low temperatures during transportation.

‘Middle of food chain matters’ Pennsylvania taking temperatures of trucks hauling food

A few weeks ago, state agriculture inspectors forced a trucker to toss 2,000 pounds of food in the garbage after finding the cargo had not been kept at safe temperatures.

manufactured cheese on pallets in back of truckFederal rules specify meat and dairy products be trucked at less than 40 degrees. The trucker stopped May 28 near New Castle was carrying a cargo — including meat — at 63 degrees, agriculture department spokeswoman Samantha Krepps said.

He already had delivered to seven restaurants in eastern Ohio and was headed to six more in the Sharon and New Castle areas, Krepps said.

Pennsylvania officials notified their Ohio counterparts, who forced the restaurants there to discard the food, said Lydia Johnson, director of the agriculture department’s bureau of food safety.

The incident, regulators fear, reflects a larger problem, as rising fuel prices create an incentive for shippers to cheat on food safety.

For the past year, state police and agriculture inspectors have been stepping up checks of refrigerated trucks.

Trucks handle 80 to 90 percent of food consumed in the United States, but state police Col. Frank Noonan said relatively little attention has been paid to monitoring the safety of food in transit.

Salmonella Enteritidis infections associated with foods purchased from mobile lunch trucks — Alberta, Canada, October 2010–February 2011

During October 2010–February 2011, an outbreak of 91 Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) infections in Alberta, Canada, was investigated by a local public health department (Alberta Health Services, Calgary Zone). Index cases initially were linked through a common history of consumption of food purchased from mobile food-vending vehicles (lunch trucks)
operating at worksites in Alberta. Further investigation implicated one catering company that supplied items for the lunch trucks and other vendors.

In 85 cases, patients reported consumption of food prepared by the catering company in the 7 days before illness. Six patients were employees of the catering company, and two food samples collected from the catering company were positive for SE. Foods likely were contaminated directly or indirectly through the use of illegally sourced, SE-contaminated eggs at the implicated catering facility and by catering employees who were infected with SE. Public health interventions put into place to control the outbreak included screening employees for Salmonella, excluding those infected from food-handling duties, and training employees in safe food-handling procedures. No further outbreak cases were identified after full implementation of the interventions.

This investigation highlights the potential for lunch trucks to be a source of foodborne illness and the need for robust regulatory compliance monitoring of lunch trucks and their food suppliers.

13 Investigates find feds ignoring hot trucks

As Indiana State Police find more shocking cases of spoiled and contaminated food heading to Indiana restaurants, 13 Investigates has discovered how food distribution companies get away with it. A six-month Eyewitness News investigation reveals the people who are supposed to be protecting you from this dangerous food have been looking the other way, putting millions of families at risk.

Hundreds of miles from Indiana, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health sits in his Capitol Hill office, shaking his head.

"Enough is enough. I want action now!" says Joseph Pitts (R-Pennsylvania).

Pitts comments came after he watched WTHR video showing truckloads of spoiled and dangerous food heading to Indiana restaurants and grocery stores.

The powerful Congressman says seeing graphic video of contaminated food in transport makes him angry, but he is even more aggravated that more hasn’t been done to stop it.

Last week, Trooper David Eggers stopped a truck that was speeding near the town of Kentland in northwest Indiana. Inside the truck, he found boxes full of contaminated food.

"Fluids from chicken and beef and pork were running onto the floor, and we found fluids from beef on vegetables," Eggers told Eyewitness News.

WTHR was there to see the contaminated load up close. Eyewitness News cameras captured blood on the floor of the delivery truck – so much blood that it was flowing out onto the street below.

"These boxes are soaked through from blood," complained Newton County environmental health officer Jill Johnson as she inspected the load. "There’s raw meat together with vegetables – all moisture damaged – and the potential for cross contamination is very great," she said.

Hot trucks carrying perishable food getting worse

So much for the cold-chain.

13 Investigates – the voice of Indiana – found beef, pork, chicken, eggs, milk, and produce being transported in hot trucks that do not have proper refrigeration.

"If it’s happening here in Indiana," it’s happening in Texas and North Carolina and California," said Capt. Wayne Andrews, who oversees Indiana State Police’s Motor Carrier Enforcement Division. "This is not just an Indiana problem and we need to do more to address it."

"It’s just not working properly and it had approximately a 94.7 degree reading at the time of the traffic stop," explained ISP Trooper Ashley Hart, standing next to a hot truck she pulled over along Interstate 65 near Lafayette. The truck was carrying raw meat, eggs and produce from a warehouse in Chicago to restaurants in Indianapolis.

"It’s absolutely disgusting," she added.

13 Investigates first exposed the problem in July as state police partnered with local health departments to keep spoiled food from hot trucks off Hoosier dinner plates. Since then, the danger has not gone away.

"The problem is growing," said Andrews, whose motor carrier inspectors have found more hot trucks than they ever expected.

Last week, on a 92-degree day, state police stopped a food truck heading northbound on Interstate 69 near Muncie. The truck’s refrigeration unit was broken and inside, eggs, pork, shrimp, and fish were found to be 66 degrees. Food safety inspectors from the Delaware County Health Department say that is both dangerous and illegal.

Indiana’s effort to crack down on hot trucks is about to get some national exposure. After seeing WTHR’s investigation, NBC’s TODAY Show has decided to highlight this problem as a national issue. TODAY sent a crew to Indiana last week and will feature a special report on hot trucks September 22 — this Thursday morning. You can see the report on Channel 13.

Flying Pig, Cheeky Monkey porn in food trucks

The proliferation of food trucks in urban centers must be real because now there is a pornographic movie set in a food truck – literally.

However a legal dispute has developed between The Flying Pig catering truck and Metro Movies, which produced the flick under the name Cheeky Monkey, Inc., with allegations the Pig didn’t know it was a porn shoot, while the Monkey says, “the owner watched the DVD and raved about what he saw … saying in a letter, "SEX + FOOD + FUN = well, just about all my favorite things! A 10 for sure."

The porn company says they have no plans to stop the release of the film — as Flying Pig demanded — because the truck people knew exactly what they were getting into.

I will review the film for food safety infractions.

L.A. County wants food trucks to carry health letter grades

Why not? Wherever people eat, they should be able to get publicly-funded information about food safety; the smart operators will market their excellent food safety.

Los Angeles County public health officials are asking the Board of Supervisors to expand to food trucks the county’s popular letter grading system that evaluates safe food handling practices. The vote, originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been pushed back a week.

If approved, 6,000 full-service catering trucks and 3,500 hot dog, churro and other limited food service carts would be covered by the ordinance. If the supervisors approve it, enforcement would first begin in unincorporated areas of the county.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the county Department of Public Health, said,

“Even before this trend, we felt people were asking us: We go to a restaurant, we like the grading system, but what about all these trucks that are coming? How do we know? We’ve been looking at this for some time.”

Public health officials said the current program does not meet annual inspection goals because they cannot locate food vehicles that move constantly. The new ordinance will require vendors to give information about their vehicle whereabouts and mandates that the trucks be inspected twice a year.

Erin Glenn, chief executive officer of Asociacion de Loncheros, an association of lunch trucks, said,

“As long as enforcement is fair, and the inspectors treat local food vendors with respect, just like they do with the brick-and-mortar establishments, hopefully the inspection standards are the same, I think the regulations are fine. I think it’s a step in the right direction to improve public health, and we’re all for it.”

Are taco trucks inspected?

A reader writes Medford’s Oregon’s Mail Tribune to say:

I think taco trucks serve a better lunch than fast-food chains. But I don’t see any listed with your restaurant inspection scores. Does anyone regulate them, or should I eat at my own risk?

Chad Petersen, an environmental health specialist who inspects "mobile food units" for Jackson County Health and Human Services, responded,

"They’re basically a restaurant on wheels.”

Like bricks-and-mortar restaurants, the county’s 100-some mobile ones are licensed and inspected every six months. You don’t see their scores with other eateries’ because Oregon law doesn’t require they get one.

"They’re kind of on a pass-fail basis," Petersen says.