Monday, May 27, 2024

How New York ensures the health and safety of food trucks

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Food trucks have come a long way since the 19th century when they were horse-drawn chuckwagons or lunch wagons. But have you ever wondered how operators are keeping us safe? Food trucks go through a similar health and inspection process as restaurants.

The crew at Effortlessly Healthy is not your traditional operation.


What You Need To Know

  • Food trucks undergo health and inspection processes similar to traditional restaurants
  • Effortlessly Healthy, primarily, is a meal delivery service but also operates a food truck
  • Compliance with regulations, including annual inspections and proper food handling

“Effortlessly Healthy is primarily a meal delivery service. So we deliver twice a week so people don’t have to cook or grocery shop and all of our food is fresh, not frozen,” said Shaina Zazzaro, owner of Effortlessly Healthy. 

They also set up at festivals and curb-side too. But you won’t find deep-fried foods here. Shaina Zazzaro opened her food truck with a mission.

“I had lost 50 pounds. I had taken my arthritis from severe to in remission by just eating healthy food,” Zazzaro added. 

Shaina wanted to share that with the community but starting the food truck was a process. 

“You have to find a great insurance agent and get a lot of different insurance. And then you have to go down to the city and you have to fill out all of your food truck permits and get your fire and health inspections. We use Irondequoit Fire, they come and inspect everything to make sure we are always up to code,” Zazzaro expressed.

Mobile food trucks, like brick-and-mortar restaurants, must follow strict guidelines under the New York state Department of Health and are inspected annually. 

“Every food truck that is permitted through us. We are looking for a lot of hand sanitation, like bare handling, and ready-to-eat food. We are not talking about the burger making that is about to be cooked, they are allowed to do that. But they cannot touch something that somebody is about to eat with their bare hands. So there’s a whole list of things we go through and look for,” said Starr O’Neil, manager of environmental health for the Monroe County Department of Health.

“These keep your food at the proper temperature so you don’t get people sick. You also want to make sure that you have your propane and your carbon monoxide detectors just in case of a propane leak. You want to make sure you have your hand soap, your dish soap and your handy buckets. There are so many people with their hands and stuff. I wanted to eliminate that. So you could just pull out your fork and you get a nice clean fork at a festival. We make everyone go through serve-safe training. We make everyone aware of how to run the truck. You want to make sure everything is fresh because the last thing you want to do is get someone sick on your food truck,” Zazzaro added.

If health or safety violations are found, operators may have to throw out or remake food, or the business will be shut down until further notice. 

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