(Note: – We stole this from our Taco Trucks Columbus site. This applies to all mobile food vendors) There are several still out there serving food in the freeze of winter – so go out and give them some business.
Food carts, trucks and trailers are inspected by the Columbus Board of Health. Each vendor should display a green Columbus Health Department Color Coded Inspection Sign with the date of the last inspection. Inspections occur at least once per year, just like any restaurant or food supplier. Mobile food owners must have a peddlers license as well.
A yellow health department tag means the truck has been warned about a health code issue and is on probation while they implement recommended changes – so menu items may be limited. A red sticker indicates a major health code violation and the business is closed.
That being said, mobile food vendors can get a bad rap. Hot dog carts and hamburger stands fought these same stereotypes in the 20th century as they evolved into American icons. How many restaurant kitchens have you seen? This writer has seen some very scary kitchens behind closed doors. Mobile vendors are serving out of open kitchens – customers can see every step in the preparation process for start to serving time. If you are wary of a mobile food – ask us for a suggested truck and meal – I doubt you will be disappointed. Watch how the food is prepared. If something gives you the creeps, cut your losses and move on to the next truck. The owner of the mobile eatery is often the one cooking your food. He or she depends on repeat business to stay in business and cleanliness is the key to happy customers and health inspectors. The inspectors make regular spot checks on all mobile vendors just as they do for restaurants, grocery stores, fair food stands and elsewhere. So the answer is: street eats are as clean as any other food you eat and in this case – at least you can see it before you eat it. We think that is a very good thing.