CINCINNATI -- Part of the joy of buying your lunch from a food truck or hot dog cart is the feeling of indulgence in something greasy, casual and delicious, but we all want our food to be safe -- no matter where it comes from.
That's where Darius Porter comes in. He and his fellow health and food inspectors don't just inspect restaurants: They also issue temporary and mobile licenses to vendors who run food trucks and stands. To meet their standards, foodsellers must keep their hot food hot and cold food cold at exact temperatures.
The ground around their area also needs to be clean and dry, and anything the food is being served on needs to stay six inches above the ground.
"Should somebody get sick at an event (like a food truck festival), it would be difficult to track the source, so being proactive helps to prevent any issues," Porter said.
Temporary licenses are good for five consecutive days, making them a good fit for vendors in town for a community event or music festival. Mobile licenses are good for a year -- if a vendor wants to sell in Cincinnati for more than a week, they need one of those.
"There will always be hurdles and obstacles," Porter said, noting that 85 percent of vendors are typically up to code. "A lot of vendors sometimes come from out of town. You have to consider that aspect and dynamic as well, where they don't know Ohio law."
"The community feels confident in what they're being served," added Bret Ramsey, who operates an Asian catering business called Sidekix. "Obviously we don't want anybody getting sick or anything like that, so it's a very important process."