Charlotte, NC: How to Tell if a Food Truck Has Been Inspected by Officials

By RAD BERKY | NewsChannel 36

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Now that summer is here, more and more people are out at events and tempted to grab a bite to eat from a local food truck.

At a food truck rally in Charlotte’s South End a woman named Ashley was pondering a choice from a line of seven trucks.

When asked how she judges if the food is safe she said, “I don’t know. I’m just guessing that they have been around so long and haven’t been shut down yet.”

There is a better way to tell.

Food trucks are inspected by the Mecklenburg County Health Department and they are all vetted by Charlotte Center City Partners.

Robert Krumbine of Center City Partners said, “We go out and we make sure we learn who they are.  We work with them and we see them in operation.  We know their business.”

Each food truck is inspected at least three times a year. Truck operators like Andrew Lackey say the inspections are tough.

“They look for anything they do in a normal restaurant. Whether we are wearing hand protection,” said Lackey.  “Whether we wash our hands and change our gloves.  They also check the refrigeration units.”

At the end of each day each truck also has to return to where ever it is permanently housed.

“They have to clean.  They have to restock and restore. They have to do everything,” said Krumbine.

Food trucks do not carry posted grades from inspectors like restaurants, but if the trucks pass they will have a seal from the department on the back door with an expiration date.

When told about the seal, Ashley said, “I did not know that.  I just ordered off this one so maybe I’ll go behind and make sure before I eat.”

The truck she chose did have an up-to-date seal from inspectors.

Center City Partners’ Krumbine said, “That’s why we are here.  We are making sure that your experience here is the best it can possibly be.”