Nov. 5 forum to help shape food truck rules
The City’s Planning & Development Services Department is hosting a food truck forum Monday evening to gather input from vendors about possible changes in the rules regulating their ventures.
The forum will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, at the McNease Convention Center, 501 Rio Concho Drive. The gathering will also be broadcast live on the City of San Angelo-Public Information Facebook page and on SATV, Suddenlink channel 17. Questions and comments will be fielded live during the meeting via the City’s Facebook page and @CityofSanAngelo on Twitter.
City officials will be on hand Monday evening to discuss potentially allowing food trucks to operate on some properties zoned for residential use. Those might include public parks, churches and schools. City planners are also considering changes that would allow food trucks to operate in other zones – such as office commercial and light manufacturing – and would extend the amount of time a truck could stay in the public right-of-way serving food.
“We want to partner with our local food trucks to help them access areas in a safe and forward-thinking manner,” said Aaron Vannoy, Planning & Development administrator. “We’re seeking to make our processes easier and more widely known. This conversation will help guide where and how food trucks can operate to the benefit of all.”
What’s a health inspector looking for when he goes into a restaurant? This.
The City of San Angelo Code of Ordinances defines a food establishment as a food service establishment, a retail food store, a mobile food unit and/or a roadside food vendor. Based on the definition, a food establishment is a place that sells or serves food to the public and does not distinguish between the selling or giving away of food, nor whether the establishment is a profit or non-profit. All food establishments are inspected in accordance with the Texas Food Establishment Rules, as adopted by the City of San Angelo, and uses a demerit system of inspecting.
0-10 demerits = excellent
11-20 demerits = good
21-30 demerits = acceptable
31 or more = poor
The food establishment inspection report involves checking against 27 different violations, each scoring from three to five. The report is used to conduct routine inspections and addresses factors that can contribute to the outbreak of a food borne illness including improper cooling and thawing, inadequate cooking, inadequate reheating or hot holding, improper hand washing, infected personnel, contaminated raw food or ingredient, unsafe food sources and cross contamination.
All violations that receive five demerits involve time and temperature issues and are considered major violations; items that receive four are also major violations and involve other issues that require immediate corrective actions. Three-point violations are non-critical violations and have 10 days to be corrected.
Other violations shall be corrected as soon as possible and in any event, by the time of the next routine inspection, but no later than 90 days after the inspection.
Inspection scores are focused on food safety items that directly cause problems. Many items that people may see, such as dirty dining area floors and walls, may appear bad, but they do not actually affect the safety of the food; demerits are not given for these types of items.
The frequency of inspection is based upon a risk assessment and takes into consideration type of food, preparation methods, the number of people served, number of employees handling food products and whether the population served a highly susceptible population (i.e., people that are more likely to experience a food-borne illness because of age or medical conditions, such as schools, hospitals and daycares). Food establishments are inspected on a routine basis between two to four times a year dependent on their risk of the population served and the types of food served.
Inspection reports may be viewed below.It is important to take into account that when looking at the overall score, you have to consider all of the processes carried out at the facility. For example, a convenience store with only pre-packaged food items does not involve the same processes as a full service restaurant. In addition, a routine inspection is only a “snap shot” in time. At any given time, a food establishment may have more or less violations than noted at the time of inspection. A food service inspection may not reflect the overall long-term cleanliness of an establishment. An important fact to note is that many violations on inspections are corrected on site (COS) prior to the inspector leaving. Some items on the report are not applicable (NA) to that particular food establishment or that item was not observed (NO) at that particular point in time.
Disclaimer: Per the City Attorney, the inspection reports do not call for any information that is confidential or privileged by law. Pursuant to the Public Information Act, restaurant and food establishment reports made on inspections conducted by City personnel in compliance with state law and city code are public information. Reviewing the entire inspection history is crucial in ascertaining a more accurate picture of an establishment’s food safety and sanitation programs.
The posted information may reflect inspections that have not yet been corrected. The information posted describes conditions found only at the time of the last inspections and again, not intended to provide the historical picture of the establishment. An item in violation today may be good tomorrow, and vice versa.