Food truck safety revisited after explosion in Philly

AUSTIN (KXAN) –  Over the years, food trucks have become an Austin staple. There are now more than 1,500 active permits for Austin and other areas in Travis County.

Some ingredients for a successful food truck operation include innovation, hard work and of course, good food.

“It’s excellent,” said customer Isaac Kattan. “The sauce is incredible.”

Food truck manager of The Peached Tortilla, Gilberto Solis, said, “When I turn around and they come back and say ‘hey it was great’, I love it, makes my day.”

But there is more to the recipe.

“It’s a kitchen on wheels, it’s pretty dangerous,” said Solis.

Vendors like The Peached Tortilla must follow strict regulations.

“Underneath your fryer, you clean it very well because a lot of grease gets in there,” said Solis. “That’s how you get a lot of grease fires.” Vendors must have fire extinguishers on hand.

Propane must be properly ventilated and can’t be placed just anywhere. In Texas, it’s illegal to have your propane tank on the rear of your food truck.

The Austin Fire department inspects food trucks each year. They say one of the biggest hazards is leaking propane tanks. Thankfully they haven’t had a major incident in Travis County.

Any vendor who fails a food truck inspection will receive a list of violations. They do get another opportunity for inspection.

The fire department started inspections on food trucks in 2010. Looking at the numbers, violations are dropping, even as the number of inspections rise:

  • 2010: 88 inspections, 40 failures
  • 2011: 465 inspections, 177 failures
  • 2012: 484 inspections,132 failures
  • 2013: 600 inspections, 144 failures
  • 2014: 230 inspections to date, 64 failures

Violations included:
Missing the required fire extinguisher
An expired propane tank
And propane stored on the back of the vehicle.

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