Breezing Through a Food Truck Health Inspection

You’ve ordered, received and installed every bit of the commercial kitchen ventilation that you needed for your food truck. Business has been brisk. Everything seems to be running smoothly. Until the health department decides to inspect your operation to make sure everything is also running safely.

It’s wise to treat every day as though your restaurant operation could be inspected. That way, the chances of threats to food safety can be minimized. Plus, you’re not caught flatfooted. Here are some tips, courtesy of, for ensuring that your food truck passes its health inspection:

Make a point to carefully inspect your truck at least once a month. When conducting these self-inspections, it’s a good idea to have someone else play your role so that all employees will know what to expect. In fact, you may wish to pull a surprise inspection. Use a local inspection sheet, if available, point out positive and negative findings and then meet with your staff to delegate who will do what to remediate any outstanding issues.

Use previous inspection reports to help you and your staff clean your service window area, kitchen, cooler and storage areas. By demonstrating to an inspector that you are willing to address previous issues, you show that you take the process seriously, which can only help in the long run, as you will often deal with the same inspector on each visit.

Ask an exterminator to inspect your truck, as any signs of pests can shut down your operation and keep it shut until the problems are thoroughly mitigated.

Regularly check refrigeration temperatures, as these will increase during the day as the doors are opened and closed several times. Also check the unit’s drains to make sure they are running freely.

Maintain clean cooler shelves, as these can be collection points for dirt, grime and spilled liquids. Make a habit of washing all of the shelves with soap and water once a week.

Check your hot water temperature, as it can max out over time and, while still hot to your touch, might fail to meet your health department’s minimum temperature standards.

And also keep any personal items – such as coffee cups and utensils – clean and in good shape. Any sign of slovenliness is a red flag for an inspector to look for similar signs of neglect elsewhere.