BEND, OR -- New food trucks and food cart parking lots seem to be popping up all over Central Oregon, but some consumers are skeptical of their safety.
Jerry Kathan is a registered Environmental Health Specialist for Crook County. He says rules for these temporary food service stands are no different than those for brick and mortar restaurants. "There's different categories of food licenses. A food truck, basically, has the most rules that it has to obey, because they usually handle things like raw meats, potentially hazardous foods; they can store raw foods there, and they can cook them, and they can serve them. So, they pretty much have to be self-contained and they have to have commercial equipment."
He's inspected many food trucks and understands why some people might be nervous. But, Kathan says there are a few clues that will help determine whether or not you should eat what's being offered. "It's kind of hard to see what's going on, because you can't really walk in and see what it really looks like inside," He tells KBND News, "But, I think to watch the food handlers, see what they do with their hands. If they touch their face, or wipe their hands on their shirt or an apron or something like that, they're supposed to wash their hands. If somebody's sneezing or coughing in there, I would walk away."
Kathan says most food truck operators he inspects are conscientious business people who work to meet the federal requirements for food service. Food trucks are randomly inspected at least twice each year and all food service inspection records are available on-line through each county's website.