Are food trucks as clean as restaurants?

Many students in an online cooking school have thought about the prospect of opening a food truck. Mobile eateries have become a booming trend that seems to be sticking around for the long haul. But some consumers are still wary of food trucks under the assumption that the vehicles are filthy. However, new research shows that ordering your meal from a food truck may actually be safer than eating at a restaurant.

In June 2014, the Institute for Justice looked into this notion that food trucks are dirty with a study, “Street Eats, Safe Eats: How Food Trucks and Carts Stack Up to Restaurants on Sanitation.” Researchers reviewed some 260,000 food-safety inspection reports from seven major cities across America: Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Louisville. It found that, in every city surveyed, mobile vendors, including food trucks and carts, are covered by the same health regulation codes and inspections as brick and mortar dining establishments.

Not only do food trucks undergo the same inspections and follow the same health codes, but they scored equally as well or better than restaurants. In fact, Seattle was the only city in which mobile food vendors did not score significantly higher than restaurants. While the findings prove that food trucks are generally cleaner, they do not explain precisely why many people in the culinary industry have their own speculations. As Vox notes, the reason may be that food trucks’ kitchens are smaller and easier to manage than those found in restaurants. Additionally, with the recent growth in popularity of food trucks, mobile vendors are under greater pressure to make sure their food and facilities are pristine.

This report effectively debunks the false illusion that street food is unclean, but, as it emphasizes, also reveals that the results suggest stricter regulations on mobile vendors only serve to harm the industry.

“They also suggest that the recipe for clean and safe food trucks is simple – inspections. More burdensome regulations proposed in the name of food safety, such as outright bans and limits on when and where mobile vendors may work, do not make street food safer – they just make it harder to get,” the report stated.

Hopefully, this new information will prompt government officials to ease such restrictions on mobile vendors, and it may even sway the opinion of those who still call mobile trucks “roach coaches.”

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