The food truck craze has been taking over city by city in the United States offering a variety of food choices on just about any street corner in any part of a city or town. However, like restaurants, these are eating establishments which must follow specific health code guidelines, some that vary based upon the fact that they are on wheels. Arizona has a number of different rules for mobile food trailers.
Types of Food
Different rules apply to different types of food being served from food trucks. Operators who sell food which is potentially hazardous, like meat or vegetables that can spoil or must be cooked, must pay a license or permit fee depending upon which county in Arizona they are operating within. Cold, potentially hazardous foods must be stored at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit, while potentially hazardous foods that need to be cooked must be preheated to between 135 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Food that is prepackaged, like candy, nuts, or breads, and can be stored at a reasonable outdoor temperature does not require a permit.
Preparation of Food
All food that is served and sold from mobile food trailers must be prepared in the mobile food trailer or at an approved commissary where the trailer is parked. No food may be prepared at home, stored and then transported from location to location. Workers are not allowed to eat, drink or smoke in the mobile food trailer preparation areas and clean clothes and hairnets for long hair are required. Also most workers must have most of their bodies covered, especially if there is a sore or cut on a part of their body that could potentially come in contact with food that is being prepared.
Mobile food trailers must be constructed in a certain way to keep the food safe and reduce any chance of it being contaminated before or while it is being prepared. All mobile food trucks must have doors on their food preparation areas that close on their own. They must be kept closed. Screens and screen doors must be maintained to reduce the amount of insects or other pests that could potentially enter the trailer. The roof can have no leaks and the countertops must repaired of any dents or scratches so that bacteria or mold cannot grow and possibly contaminate food during preparation.
Licenses and Paperwork
A license must also be approved by the health department in the particular Arizona county in which the mobile food truck will be operating before it can legally serve food. A number of things must be presented before a license is granted. A picture of the mobile food unit, a completed license application, a menu of the items that will be served, a commissary agreement if you are using a commissary to prepare your food and a check for anywhere between $265 and $350 must be submitted to the county health department before you can be licensed to serve food. All workers in the mobile food unit must also present an approved mobile food worker's form from the respective Arizona county in which they are working.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Daniel Westlake has written under pen names for a myriad of publications all over the nation, ranging from national magazines to local papers. He now lives in Los Angeles, Calif. but regularly travels around the country and abroad, exploring and experiencing everything he can.