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Food truck food safety: challenges and solutions

As summer is now upon us, if you own a food truck, you have probably got a busy few months ahead, packed full of festivals, country shows, weddings and other events. However, just because you are not operating out of a brick building, the authorities still expect you to hold the same hygiene and food safety standards as businesses operating out of a fixed brick building, and you are subject to food safety inspections. You will be held to the same standard and graded on the same 1-5 star system. Discover the most common non-conformances that are picked up in inspections. If you have just started your food truck business, or are thinking about starting one check out our blog on starting a street food business to get some top tips and insights.

In this blog, we will discuss what food safety challenges you may experience in your food truck that differ from bricks and water sites and ways that you can overcome them.

Hot and Cold Running Water

Hot and cold running water is a vital hygiene tool that any food business should have in place, and that’s no different for food trucks. There are several approaches that a food truck owner can take.

Onboard Plumbing Systems

Food trucks often have a plumbing system installed, including sinks, to facilitate handwashing, dishwashing, and food preparation. These systems are designed to conserve water and comply with health and safety regulations.

Freshwater Tanks

Food trucks often have built-in freshwater tanks that can hold a certain amount of water. These tanks can be filled before the truck's operation begins, providing a limited supply of fresh water throughout the day.

External Water Sources

Depending on where the food truck is located there may be the ability to connect to external water sources, such as filling stations, to replenish freshwater tanks as needed. Some cities and events also provide water access specifically for food trucks.

Portable Water Containers

When access to external water sources is limited, food truck operators may use portable water containers to supplement their fresh water supply. These containers can be filled in advance and used when necessary.

Remember that depending on your setup and where your food truck is operating, there may be regulations set by the local authorities, such as permits for water usage and waste. You can check this with the event organiser or contact the council directly.


Just like any food operation creating waste is inevitable; this can be a little more challenging to manage for food trucks. Here are some strategies food trucks can take to manage waste effectively.


Like any other food establishment, food truck staff will often separate their waste into different categories, such as organic waste (food scraps), recyclables (plastic bottles, cans, paper), and general rubbish, allowing for easier disposal and recycling. Many large-scale events and food market locations will have a dedicated facility for vendors to dispose of rubbish, which is often a requirement from the authorities in order for the organisers to host the event.

Waste Management Services

Depending on the location you are operating from, there may not be any facilities available therefore, it may be necessary to employ the services of a waste management company. These services often provide scheduled pickups and ensure proper waste separation and disposal in compliance with local regulations.

Even if you have some facilities available, you may wish to use a composting collection program to compost organic waste, such as fruit and vegetable scrap and coffee grounds, to help with your brand's sustainability efforts.

Providing Public Waste Bins

Waste is not only created while preparing and cooking food; a large amount can be produced by your customers, such as paper plates, cutlery, napkins, etc. Food trucks should provide waste bins for customers to dispose of their waste responsibly. These bins are typically labelled to encourage proper waste separation and disposal. Depending on where you are operating, these bins may be supplied and managed by the event organisers; this is something that you should check before you arrive.

Grey Water Tanks

Food trucks not only need access to fresh water however, they need to have the ability to safely dispose of wastewater. Wastewater is generated from activities like dishwashing and handwashing. To manage this, trucks usually have grey water tanks to collect and store the used water, this will need to be emptied regularly at designated dumping stations or facilities. If you are operating at an event that runs over several days, such as a festival then there is often a dedicated dumping facility.

Like water usage, food truck operators need to adhere to local general waste management regulations and obtain necessary permits related to waste disposal. This will be checked during an EHO inspection, and you will be penalised if you are not correctly disposing of waste.

Limited Space and Cross Contamination

One of the biggest challenges that food trucks face is limited space; this can potentially increase the risk of cross-contamination due to their compact operating environment. There are several practices that food truck operators can implement.

Streamlined Workflow

Food truck operators should design their workspace to optimise workflow and minimise the risk of cross-contamination. This may involve careful planning of the order in which ingredients are handled and cooked to reduce the likelihood of contamination.

Separate Food Zones

Although there is limited space, try to have designated areas or zones for different food preparation tasks. For example, have a separate station for handling raw meats, preparing vegetables, and assembling finished dishes. This helps minimise the potential for cross-contamination.

Proper Food Handling Procedures

Like all food businesses, food truck operators must follow strict food handling procedures such as regular handwashing, using gloves, and preventing contact between raw and cooked foods to minimise the risk of cross-contamination.

Food Safety Equipment

Food trucks should be equipped with food safety essentials such as cutting boards, knives, and utensils that are colour-coded or designated for specific food types. This helps reduce the risk of cross-contamination by ensuring that equipment used for raw meats, for example, is not used for other ingredients without proper cleaning.

Regular Cleaning

Food trucks must implement strict cleaning schedules. Surfaces, equipment, and utensils should be regularly cleaned and sanitised to prevent the growth and transfer of bacteria.

Employee Training

Adequate food safety training of all food truck staff is not only a legal requirement but is vital in preventing cross-contamination. Employees should be taught to follow hygiene practices and understand the risks associated with cross-contamination.

Adequate Storage and Organisation

Despite limited space food trucks should maximise storage efficiency to prevent cross-contamination. Food products should be stored correctly, separating raw ingredients from ready-to-eat items and using sealed containers to minimise the risk of contamination. Refrigeration systems must be used to maintain proper temperature control for perishable items.

Food trucks have limited space to store things like paperwork therefore, moving to a digital food safety system is even more vital. Hubl offers a complete 360-degree food safety system for as little as £17 per month. Hubl records your daily, weekly, and monthly due diligence checks and stores all your documentation such as: FSMS, HSMS, training certificates, in one central place.


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