Calgary’s expanding food truck flotilla is passing more than just than the taste test, according to results from this year’s health and safety inspections.
No major issues or high-risk violations were found as most of the mobile eateries were put under the microscope earlier this month. Minor maintenance and equipment-related infractions were cited, but nothing that warranted charges.
Chief Licence Inspector Kent Pallister noted there was some media scrutiny of health violations in 2012, but contended the results are exceedingly positive.
“Now in 2014, I believe our food truck operators are better educated in the health regulations and experienced in what is required so we are now seeing better results upon inspection,” Pallister said.
The City of Calgary is nearing 50 of the four-wheeled food wagons, with 46 permits anded out, three pending approval and one new application. There was a 43-truck cap under the two-year pilot program that wrapped up last fall.
Red Wagon Diner owner Gabriel Goldberg suggested the standards get “more stringent” every year as owners — as well as inspectors – get the hang of the street eats business.
“We’re all learning together,” said Goldberg, whose operation specializes in smoked-meat sandwiches.
This year, he added, there’s been more emphasis on hot water supply and window covers to keep pests out during slow periods.
In general, Alberta Health Service inspectors probe three areas: food handling practices, cleanliness and operator hygiene.
Water supply issues aside, Dr. Richard Musto says food truck operators are held to the same standards as their counterparts in brick-and-mortar restaurants.
“The fact that it’s up on wheel instead of the ground really doesn’t make a difference,” said Musto, Calgary’s lead medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services.