As in all things, there is a right way and a wrong way to accomplish goals.  The food industry is a difficult endeavor, requiring many permits and capital investments to ensure the public’s health is not compromised.  Below is some great information put out by Kern County Public Health regarding unpermitted mobile food vendors.  Establishing a new business and chasing a financial dream is a great opportunity for those brave enough to try, but when shortcuts are taken, the public tends to suffer.  Please take a moment to read the following informational piece and do your part to guarantee the vendors who are following the rules are not being forced out by those that don’t.

Public Health encourages residents to “look for the sticker” when purchasing food from mobile food facilities.  Kern County Public Health’s Environmental Health Division works year-round to help protect the health of our community through permitting and inspecting mobile food facilities. Our goal is to prevent outbreaks of food borne illness by ensuring facilities operate safely and in accordance with state law. CDC estimates 48 million people get sick resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths from foodborne diseases each year in the United States.  During food facility inspections, health inspectors look for proper food handling practices and personal hygiene of the food service employees.  Additionally, inspectors verify the source of food products and ensure general sanitation of the overall food service operation.  Inspectors also look for many food safety factors during an inspection.  For example, potentially hazardous foods like meats and dairy products must be held at or below 41 degrees. They will check the temperature of refrigeration units to ensure they meet this standard to ensure foods don’t suffer harmful bacterial growth. Also, food service employees must always have access to handwashing sinks with warm water.  Inspectors will test the sinks and use a thermometer to make sure water reaches 110 degrees so that warm water is always available for proper handwashing, a food safety must!

The county health officials are encouraging people to only buy food from vendors and food trucks that prominently display their large, green mobile food permits. They also want the public to report vendors who do not have permits.  To help with the public reporting aspect of the campaign, the Kern County health department has added a link in its “Safe Diner” mobile app to identify the location and name of a vendor for public health officials to investigate.

“Consumers play an important role in food safety by “looking for the sticker” to ensure mobile food facilities are permitted by Environmental Health,” says Brynn Carrigan, Director of Kern County Public Health. “This sticker ensures that food safety is a top priority, and the business is operating in accordance with state law.”

Kern County Public Health Services partners with local food facilities, like Norma Diaz with La Rosa, to ensure that every bite you take is safe and hopefully delicious too.

“Aside from making a great product, one of the most important things for us at La Rosa is practicing food safety. Because if we don’t do that, then we are going to have a lot of people not feeling good out there, and I don’t want anyone feeling bad about La Rosa! Thanks to Environmental Health for working with businesses to ensure food is being served safely in our community.”

Norma Diaz, Owner of La Rosa Fruit Bars & Ice Cream, Inc.