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Chicago Food Truck and Street Food Safety

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Personal Injury, Product Liability


The trendy place to eat nowadays is not that expensive restaurant down the block, but a food truck. Food trucks have been all the rage for the past few years for their unique and inexpensive food offerings. From barbecue ribs to seafood to tacos to pizza, these trucks offer foods to satisfy every craving. However, food trucks have a reputation for not being the cleanest food venues. A burning question on everyone’s mind involves food safety.

These trucks serve hundreds of patrons daily in a truck that’s smaller than your bathroom. Is this safe? For the most part, yes. Food trucks are essentially restaurants on wheels, and as such, they must abide by the same rules. They must be licensed and inspected on a regular basis.

However, there are many food trucks that don’t make the cut. If you suffered food poisoning from contaminated food, learn about your legal rights by contacting our Chicago product liability attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900.

Issues that Food Trucks Face

Last year, 4 percent of food trucks in Chicago failed their inspections and were forced to close. Approximately 27 percent earned a grade other than an A.

Food trucks face many issues primarily because of the small space. Most measure no more than 8 feet by 20 feet, which means there is little room for equipment plus walking space for employees. This means that same person is cooking the food and serving it to you – a recipe for contamination.

Temperature control is also an issue. Hot foods need to stay hot, and cold foods need to stay cold. But with limited equipment and the heat from the street, this is easier said than done.

Food Truck Safety Tips

You don’t have to swear off your food truck ritual just yet. However, you should take some precautions. Here are some ways to stay safe:

  • Look for a license. By law, food trucks are required to have a license. Many cities require vendors to have theirs on display, but if you don’t see one, you have the right to ask to see it. Do not eat from a truck without one.
  • Grades matter. Just like in school, food trucks are graded. Ideally, eat from the ones with As. A B grade is OK, although there could be some serious issues with food safety. Avoid food trucks with C grades, as that is an almost-failing grade.
  • Make sure employees are wearing gloves. Not all areas require food workers to wear gloves, but they can greatly decrease contamination when worn. Hygiene is one of the top causes of food-related illnesses, and gloves show that a food truck takes your health seriously.
  • Make sure food is at the right temperature. If your salad is hot and your burger is cold, you open the door to health issues. If your food feels the wrong temperature, send it back, get a refund, and take your business elsewhere. Temperature issues are common, so be wary.

What if Your Food was Contaminated?

Food contamination is the most common issue among food trucks. If you suffered food poisoning after eating food from one of these trucks, you may be covered under product liability laws. Negligence can cause food to be undercooked or tainted with bacteria.

If you fell ill after eating from a food vendor, you’ll need proof that the vendor was the cause of your illness. Get help from the Chicago food contamination attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. We will provide aggressive representation for your case. Give us a call today at (312) 236-2900.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900