Are Food Trucks in Wyoming Safe Places to Eat?
In Wyoming, food trucks seem to be popping up out of no where and are now all the rage across the Cowboy State. But the burning question for some people is: Am I Safe Eating from a Food Truck?
In a word, YES. Food All mobile food businesses must adhere to the same rigorous health guidelines and inspections as your favorite restaurants.
Every Food truck that operates in Wyoming must possess a License from the Wyoming Department of Health and pass regular inspections. The Wyoming Department of Health regularly checks all food vendors and their prime concern is for public safety. The possession of a license by a vendor also helps the Wyoming Health Department inspectors track these mobile kitchens and provide protection for customers from potential food borne illness outbreaks, which might otherwise be difficult to track as these vendors travel from location to location across the state.
Every mobile food vendor must also adhere to a long list of food industry guidelines, same as any restaurant in Wyoming. These guidelines include everything from a sanitary place for employees to wash their hands to how food is prepared, cooked, stored and handled.
Many Wyoming communities are opening their arms and welcoming to the new food truck craze, as well as more and more special events and festivals are now featuring multiple food truck cuisines. Many of these communities require food vendors to possess a permit to operate, which further helps local health authorities to track these vendor locations.
But if you're still cautious, that's OK! There are several things that a wary, but hungry potential customer can look for to help them spot a potentially risky vendor and protect themselves from possible food borne illnesses.
First off, if you don't see a current License from the Wyoming Department of Health, you can ask to see one. Licenses are required for all food vendors (trucks and restaurants) and if they're not posted in plain view, they should be able to produce one, just as they would if a health inspector made a visit. So, if they can't show you a license, you might look for another place to eat.
The next tell of a good mobile food service is to look and see if the servers wearing gloves. You might not think that gloves are a big deal, but according to dozens of health industry safety studies, you are more likely to get sick because of a (mobile food vendor or restaurant) employee has poor personal hygiene. One of the biggest contributors to food borne illnesses comes from contamination from the people handling our food.
Although gloves are not legally required everywhere, employees can handle food safely with clean hands and utensils. But gloves are a good sign that your food is serious business to their business.
No gloves? No worry. Just look for an opportunity for employees to wash their hands. If the servers are not wearing gloves, do they have a sink or hand washing station available for employees? As you're waiting to make your order try to notice if the employees are washing their hands, especially if they are handling raw meats or after a cough or sneezing.
Finally, is the food served Hot or Cold? Food that is lukewarm can be another indicator of a potentially unsafe meal. Food temperatures are one of the most common food truck violations. Cold foods like salads and cold cut sandwiches should be just that - cold! While your burgers, fried foods and grilled food should be served piping hot!
In all, food trucks offer some delicious and unique dining opportunities all across the Cowboy State. But if you're worried about a specific vendor, you might just pass them by and find a different vendor or place to eat. Should you encounter a food vendor or restaurant that is a potential risk or seems unsafe, be sure to contact the local health department.