Arkansas: How The Health Department Handles NWARK Food Trucks

By Garret Krier | NWAHomepage

If you are going to a baseball game, you are sure to hit up a concession stand.  But back here in Northwest Arkansas there is a new way to get your grub on and that involves food trucks.

So how do you know what you are getting when you buy a mobile meal?  The Washington County Health Department says it is a lot more difficult to run these trucks because space is in short supply.

At Mamma Dean’s “Food on the Fly truck in Elkins, meals are served up fast and fresh which can sometimes be challenging.  “It is a little more difficult to operate this because it is a lot smaller confines,” said Joel Elsasser.

To keep things fresh and unspoiled, Mamma Dean’s has to re-stock food every 2 to 3 hours according to worker Joel Elsasser.

“You don’t have a whole kitchen.  We don’t have the dry storage space.  We don’t have the cooler space and so we have to manage our supply a lot more in order to have a smooth operation.”

That helps keep them from earning the ire of the Washington County Health Department inspector Cary Gray.  “Since they are carrying their water supply with them they have to have water, they have to be able to pump water to the sink so the workers can wash their hands.”

Which Gray says can he a tricky system.  “The food truck has to take their own water with them.  They also have to disperse of their own waste water.  So they also have to have a holding tank,” said Gray.

But as for Elsasser and Mamma Deans, they say they have got it down.  “The community response around here has been excellent,” said Elsasser.

As for inspections, the Washington County Health Department says all their visits are surprises to keep business owners on their toes.