GREENSBORO, NC -- Festivals offer up everything from mobile gourmet meals to funnel cake and deep fried anything and everything. You might not think of food safety at events like this but 2 Wants to Know does.
90 percent of food vendors at festivals don't get inspected by the health department. Here's why. They serve baked, sweet or frozen items. Bakeries, ice cream parlors and popcorn places aren't considered restaurants. The department of agriculture regulates them instead. But the health department does inspect mobile food trucks and even push carts. 2 Wants to Know checked out a push cart inspection so you would know what to look for at the next festival.
James Howell's hot dog push cart has a perfect 100 sanitation score. "Safety is probably number one and then the product that you use is number two in a business like this."
Health inspector Paula Cox says just because the food business is on wheels doesn't mean vendors get to roll on by un-noticed. "It's a very condensed, mini-inspection – but it still follows the same process that we look for when we're looking at a larger place. It's just a smaller menu."
Push carts are inspected twice a year. But the only day that really matters is the day you eat from one. Paula says watch how the cart operator works:
- Do they wear gloves when handling food?
- Do they use utensils to dish out or serve food?
- Do they have a way to sanitize their hands between food and money handling?
And before you buy anything, look for this yellow city permit. Every cart should have one. "Well the permitting process, one knows that we know that they're out there. That this isn't put in somebody's back yard and cleaned in their back yard. That they're not storing the food in their kitchen or making the food in their kitchen and then selling it."
From food trucks, to push carts, baseball stadiums to your favorite restaurant, you can check scores for any food service right here on our website. Look for the Restaurant Report Card section under the features tab.