Safe Food and Equipment Handling at your Hot Dog Cart

hot dog cart food handling

Safe Food and Equipment Handling at your Hot Dog Cart

The completion of a food handling program before starting a hot dog cart service is strongly advised. We also urge that you check with your county or local city health authority to determine the specific local codes that apply to vendor carts in your location, as these might differ from one place to the next.

If you are sick, avoid working in the preparation of the food or service industry. It is when you are sneezing, runny nose, diarrhea, sore throat, vomiting, dark urine, yellowing of the skin, or are experiencing a fever or other symptoms of infection. If you have an untreated cut or burn abscess, or blister, you should avoid handling food. Always use food service protective gear over any scrapes, scratches, or burns to prevent further infection.

Avoid handling food directly with your hands. To avoid contamination, all food items must be treated with utensils. Always maintain a clean stock of spare utensils inside a clean, closed container on hand for backup. It’s important to remember that everything that falls and touches the floor, whether food or a utensil, is deemed contaminated. Food that has been tainted in this manner should be discarded.

Always keep food wrappers and adequate utensils on hand for your clients to ensure that they never come into direct contact with any food items. Please make sure to give consumers any guidance they may require so that they can guarantee food hygiene when using condiments. It is also a good idea to always keep hand sanitizer out for your customers to use before putting toppings on their hot dogs or sausage.

At the end of each day’s work, thoroughly clean and sterilize all of your food service utensils. You should not put clean and used utensils together in one container because the used goods could infect the fresh ones.

The local health authorities may demand you get a basin for washing utensils in your kitchen. It is required by several health departments for hotdog carts to get as many as three or four sinks on the cart. According to several counties, a hot dog cart must have two sinks: one rinsing and washing utensils and another sanitizing with chlorine bleach. The third sink will be used entirely for hand washing. Check with the local health authorities to ensure that you are aware of the restrictions in your area.

Hand hygiene is especially important when preparing food for others because unwashed hands can transmit a range of illnesses and viruses to those who consume the food. Hand sanitizer, hand soap, and disposable paper towels should be kept on hand at all times in a vendor cart to prevent cross-contamination.

It is required that you wash your hands promptly after using the restroom, sneezing, coughing, handling money, or touching rubbish, smoke, etc. Even if you’ve just washed your hands in another location, including a nearby washroom, you should wash your hands again when you re-enter the food service workspace (the hotdog cart).

Hands must be cleansed with soap and hot water after each use. The IDPH requires that hand washing water always be at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit. It is recommended that you bathe your hands for 15 to 20 seconds. Particular care shall be exercised to remove any dirt or contaminants that may have accumulated under the fingernails. Next, dry your hands with a single-use towel (like paper towels), a fresh towel on a roll dispenser, or use an air dryer to remove any remaining moisture. Using multi-purpose hand towels, like those used at home, is not permitted in the food service business because they can store and spread contaminants and germs.

The wearing of gloves must never be construed as a way of circumventing the need for basic hand hygiene. Gloves could become contaminated, allowing germs to be picked up and spread. For example, when handling raw meat and then serving cooked food, you still wouldn’t put on gloves because doing so would allow bacteria from raw meat to transfer to the prepared meal.

Maintain the cleanliness and shortness of your fingernails. Wearing finger rings is not recommended since they can retain and transport food particles and bacteria, which can be transferred to clean food. Rings are also capable of cutting through gloves, rendering them ineffective.

You should always wear clean and orderly attire. Bacteria can be stored and transferred through soiled clothing. Therefore, every day or every work shift, putting on a fresh set of clean clothes is necessary. Consider hairnets or hats as part of the mandatory uniform as well for a tidy appearance and to avoid any food getting in your customer’s hot dog.

Overall, it is important to follow a system to ensure consistent cleanliness and hygiene practices for both your staff and you. Your health inspector may have additional guidelines they wish for you to follow. They are an excellent resource for you. If you have any other questions for us, please don’t hesitate to ask!


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