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Inside Inspections: Food Cart Industry

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EUGENE, Ore. — It may come as a surprise, but health inspectors have a lot more on their plate than you might think.

There are more than 100 food trucks that are inspected across the landscape of Lane County, and those tasked with those inspections are the Lane County health inspectors.

Mobile unit operators must go through a plan review, get licensed, have a pre-opening inspection and then have two semi-annual inspections.

There are three types of violations, and inspectors can close a unit if it’s not up to code.

There is a dark side of this business. Sometimes trucks take off when faced with serious violations.

“They go mobile or they go dormant, and eventually what we do is if they go dormant for six months and they say they aren’t operating, the next year we will not license them,” said Zach Manning, Lane County Health Inspector.

“As a business owner of a restaurant, I want to know I am not going to get anybody sick, so the health department does a lot for the industry and the consumer,” said William Thur, owner of Zingaro.

Health inspectors can shut down a unit, but for the most part the business owners work with them.

Click on the video above to watch an in-depth report. We will take you along on inspections at two different popular Eugene food trucks. You’ll see what the health inspector looks for and why it’s so important that these trucks get checked regularly.

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  1. Kim Gibson says:

    Hello KEZI “reporters”,

    Thanks for coming by our food cart booth last week. It was fun and educational! However, just to help out, we’d like to clarify a couple of points from the video interview:

    1. Our hand wash sink is functioning 99.99% of the time, with hot and cold running water. However, the previous day, the water pump stopped working, which was perfect timing for a health department inspection, and a visit from the local news crew! We had already alerted the inspector (Zach, from video), scheduled an appointment with the food cart doctor (for the following day) and got permission (from Zach) to continue with business that day with 5 gallons of HOT water on site. As noted on the video, the hand wash sink was up and running the following day. Problem solved, and as a bonus, all of the KEZI viewers, including many of our customers, got to experience the whole thing with us. Thanks KEZI, for caring about local businesses!

    2. Since we haven’t heard KEZI post a correction about a false piece of information from the video, we’ll go ahead and take the initiative here. The reporter had the thermometer in the pasty, and the thermometer read 164.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Wow, that’s hot! In fact, food that’s held in a hot holding case, is only required to be held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit (for up to 4 hours), NOT the 165 degrees that the reporter told all viewers. Only 30 degrees off! No problem, I’m sure our customers (your viewers) weren’t too concerned.

    Thanks again for coming by and bringing the camera crew! It really warms our hearts to know that all of our hard work and dedication to bringing this community some health conscious, organic, local, and yes, safe food is so appreciated by the folks at KEZI. Keep up the great work!

    Kim and David Clark
    Co-Founders
    Cousin Jack’s Pasty Co, LLC

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