Action13

How safe is your favorite food truck?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

You see them all over town, mobile food trucks. Some are simple taco trucks, but others are boutique restaurants on wheels. How do you know if they are safe?

There are more than 700 registered mobile food trucks in the city of Houston. All of the have to follow certain rules to make sure they are keeping it clean.

If you ever see The Rice Box rolling your way, rest assured, it's a clean truck.

"Like your kitchen at home or the kitchen if you work in a restaurant, on a daily basis you want to clean it," said John Peterson with The Rice Box.

Peterson owns just one of more than 700 mobile food trucks registered in Houston. All of them must report everyday to a commissary. It's the only place the trucks can unload waste water and take on fresh water.

Josh Collins is a Houston health inspector.

"They have to get their water from a food commissary because we don't want them getting it out of a random water hose," he said.

To make sure the trucks are getting to licensed commissaries daily, the city of Houston uses radio frequency devices that monitor the trucks. The commissaries are also inspected by the city just like a restaurant.

"We have the same inspection. Everything has to be on the tables, and everything has to be stored at certain temperatures and in containers," Jaime Garcia of Garcia Bros. Commissary said.

Inspectors say most truck operators are doing a good job keeping things clean. However, keeping the food cold enough is often a problem and it's important food handles get it right.

"Once it gets above 41 degrees and below 135, that's the danger zone for food. That's where bacteria grows the best," Collins said.

Inspectors say usually if the truck is clean on the outside, it's clean inside too.

But they add you should never eat from a truck that does not have an inspection medallion. That proves it's been seen by inspectors.

So how can you tell if the food is at the right temperature? Watch our reports every Friday on Eyewitness News at 6:30 when we show you the food trucks that make the inspectors list.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

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