DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Records show a majority of food trucks in the Miami Valley pass food safety inspections, but you may be surprised to learn that one of the most dangerous parts on these trucks are not even being looked at.
Hunger Paynes Food Truck is on a mission to take its unique cuisine all over the Miami Valley, but before any of these diners on wheels do that, we found they need to get a license and inspection once a year from a county health department.
“They go and make sure they have proper holding temperatures, you have running water, you have hot running water. You have sanitizer. Your sanitizer is the right solution,” said Hunger Payne’s Food Truck owner, Andrew Payne.
After a food truck passes an inspection in Montgomery County they get one of these stickers to put on their trucks..showing you they’ve been inspected.
After that, any inspector in any county can stop by to make sure they’re following all the food safety rules.
“For the most part, the food trucks, the food trailers are inspected many more times than a regular restaurant would be,” said Montgomery County Health Inspector, Mike Buchanan.
While these trucks may be inspected a lot, 2 NEWS Investigates found two things that are not. The first is employees.
Natalie: “Is there any requirements for the people who work for the food trucks?”
“Currently there is no education requirements for food truck operators but we strongly recommend they come into our food safety class,” said Montgomery County Environmental Health Director, Jennifer Wentzel.
Payne said he and the Dayton Food Truck Association are working to get all food truck employees to take a serve safe class so they know more about handling food and preventing illness.
2 NEWS Investigates also uncovered a bigger issue that has nothing to do with the food, but everything to do with the safety around the truck.
Natalie: “So nobody is looking at those propane tanks?”
Natalie: “Is that kind of worry-some in a way?”
Payne: “It is.”
Many trucks like Payne’s use big propane tanks as their heat source. Payne is constantly checking his for leaks, but there’s no agency that stops by to do it.
“That could be a big issue, especially someone like ourselves who have two 100 pound tanks on the back. That could be a mess,” said Payne.
In our area there have been a few small fires..but look how bad it got in other states. This surveillance video caught a food truck explosion last summer in Philadelphia. The cause: a leaky propane tank.
The possibility that something like this could happen here have health inspectors worried but they can’t do anything about it. It’s not a food safety issue.
“There is no follow-up from a fire department official or building official when the propane is put on to the vehicle so that is a concern of ours,” said Buchanan
Payne tells us he wouldn’t mind more oversight in that area.
Natalie: Do you think those should be inspected more?
Payne: “I think it would be good if someone did inspect them at least. We’ve been in service for about a year and a half and we have never been inspected on our propane tanks.”
Payne is also the Vice President of the Dayton Food Truck Association.
He said this newer network of trucks are holding each other accountable when it comes to food and equipment safety.
He adds they are making sure their members know how to check for propane leaks and where to take safe serving classes.
All food truck inspection reports are from 2015 and obtained from the Montgomery County & Dayton Public Health Department. Written inspections are done annually and are required as part of the mobile food license. If a truck is licensed in one county, they can travel to other counties without getting re-inspected.