(Image from blog.centralrestaurant.com)
Did you know that of the 300+ food trucks rolling around, feeding the hungry street-roaming patrons of San Francisco, there is only one (yes, ONE) food safety inspector?
Can you even begin to imagine how absolutely wrong that is? Food safety inspections are supposed to be done at random for the sole purpose of assessing the daily operations of a foodservice establishment when they’re not expecting to be checked. It is therefore nearly impossible for one health inspector to track down, let alone randomly inspect, a single specific food truck. That’s why they have to be scheduled.
What’s wrong with that? Well… when you were a kid and mom walked into your room, wouldn’t the likelihood of her yelling at you be higher if you weren’t expecting her to barge in and inspect the premises? With that said, when inspections are scheduled rather than random, don’t you think that these trucks will be on their best behavior? No wonder most of their scores are above 95 on a scale of 1-100.
Food trucks, if it didn’t already occur to you, are a veritable danger zone. Think about it: you need soap and running water to wash your hands and electricity to run a refrigerator to store temperature-sensitive ingredients. Some food trucks are lucky enough to have access to those things, but most don’t.
How do they properly clean their hands? You’d be a bit naïve to believe that proper hand sanitation is practiced. They may have gloves but do they change them as often as they should? Look out for the next time someone rings you up and steps to the side to assemble your bahn mi. I would be hard pressed to find you back in that line again.
It’s all very disconcerting; I believe this town is just coasting with regards to food trucks, making no moves until disaster strikes. In my opinion, it’s because food trucks bring in a lot of revenue from both the locals and tourists. Whether rolling with an organized event like Off the Grid or renegading on their own, foodies follow food trucks like white on rice.
Yeah, all is good and well when the delicious bacon sisig burritos and onigiri that fill your belly aren’t contaminated with fecal matter or salmonella… but who regulates things like sanitation or even time-temperature abuse? One person named Imelda Reyes, who I’m guessing is a tiny, soft-spoken little Filipino lady. Did you know that this particular Health Inspector has been threatened for attempting to cite violations on some trucks and now has to perform her job with police escorts?
True story, bro.
In an article written in 2010 by Vicky Nguyen for NBY Bay Area News, she talks about a few inspections that Imelda Reyes had performed:
Recently she inspected popular taco truck El Tonayense. The truck received a score of 92 out of a 100 on its last scheduled inspection in February.
But it didn’t fare so well on on its most recent surprise visit. Its score dropped 20 points to 72 partly because there was no soap at the sink, improper thawing methods and raw meat stored at the wrong temperature.
There’s no surprise there. The only shocker is that it’s three years later and Imelda is STILL the only food safety inspector for mobile food service establishments. Sigh. Stationary restaurants barely keep their facilities up to Department of Health standards. How can we expect food trucks to do the same if they aren’t being properly regulated?
"You could have a score as low as 50 and still be operating." - Imelda Reyes, San Francisco Department of Health Inspector
Until San Francisco fixes this issue just be cognizant of hand hygiene and food handling ANYWHERE you choose to procure food. Don’t be afraid to ask about their latest food safety score. It is your RIGHT to know. Be safe!
So the CDC reported today that the rates of childhood obesity have shown a decline in the last few years. In my opinion, the “decline” could be a false positive due to so many factors such as under-reporting, inaccurate data, low-income citizens and lack of medical resources to get help, etc. While a decline may be nice, there’s also still a very high incidence of obesity among preschool aged kids.
This is a little break in the clouds, but we’ve got a heavy, long way to go.
Too many preschoolers are obese
1 in 8 (12%) preschoolers is obese.
- About 1 in 5 (19%) black children and 1 in 6 (16%) Hispanic children between the ages of 2 and 5 are obese.
- Obese children are more likely to be obese later in childhood and adolescence. In these older children and adolescents, obesity is associated with high cholesterol, high blood sugar, asthma, and mental health problems.
- Children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are 5 times as likely as normal-weight children to be overweight or obese as adults.
Here’s the article: http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/ChildhoodObesity/
Hello, and welcome to my delicious future cornucopia of food, good food, and everything about food, as well as my undying devotion to KALE!
The dualistic @FoodNarc concept has been in existence for a couple of years now. I’m a Foodie and have self-aware compensatory Narcissistic tendencies, so I feel like my opinion on food and nutrition matters and should be heard … granted, I am a nutrition educator on my way to becoming a dietitian with a degree in nutrition and dietetics from SFSU.
I’m also a certified food safety manager, hence the other meaning of the term “narc,” as in “informant,” namely in restaurant kitchens and food justice issues around the world.
Basically, I write about my opinions of recipes, share recipes and food safety scores, expose violations at food establishments, therapeutic nutrition, rant about my hatred for Monsanto and GMOs, food justice and injustice, etc.
So far I’ve just shared via Twitter and yelp.com but I finally have time to start the blog. Hopefully I’ll keep it up!