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County of Placer, California, innovates and evolves with growing food truck


The County of Placer has developed innovative approaches to accommodate the growing food truck industry and maintain high health standards in an efficient manner to all involved. The county is adapting its regulatory practices to make it easier for truck owners to operate, while ensuring their food products are safely prepared.

Earlier this month, in an effort to make the required health and safety inspection process easier and more accessible, the environmental health division of Placer’s health and human services department held its first “food truck roundup.” The county invited food trucks to line up for inspection at a parking lot at Sierra College in Rocklin, where they can pass a health checkup and receive their yearly health permit. Previously, a much less efficient practice had the truck owners make individual appointments at county offices in Auburn — a longer trek for hefty food trucks carrying loads of commercial-grade kitchen equipment, and especially costly for trucks based in south Placer or Sacramento.

Environmental health staff conduct their inspections, checking to make sure that food is stored at proper temperatures, basic sanitation practices are followed and commercial-grade equipment meets standards, among other items. Then, the trucks are permitted for another year, in time for the June 30 deadline when all health permits for food facilities need to be renewed.

The county has explored other innovative ways of making the regulatory process more convenient for food truck operators, such as working with neighboring environmental health departments at nearby counties to honor a food truck’s last inspection report without imposing additional fees, so they don’t need go through another full inspection in Placer County. If the initial check of a new food truck’s build and equipment has been approved by a neighboring county, then they are good to go.

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