Street food has seen something of a renaissance over the past decade. Take a walk through Portobello road, Shoreditch or Borough market and you’ll see crowds of people queuing for the chance to try organic venison burgers or a Mongolian goat curry.
Following in the wake of massive growth in the UK festival industry, food trucks and stands have quickly become a staple of the middle-class urban lifestyle, offering unique culinary experiences in quaint and surprising locations. Street food is seen as a great way to re-invigorate pallid city centres and celebrate ethnic diversity through food. Many successful street businesses have ended up becoming thriving restaurant chains.
However, the buy generic meds online pharmacy health conscious among you may recognise the potential hazards of eating food cooked on the streets. Exposure to pests and bacteria, cross-contamination, temperature control problems and bad hygiene practices are all very real issues that could lead to health incidents.
Whether you’re considering starting a street food business, or thinking of eating at one, it’s important to know the dangers and how to spot the bad practices from the good. Let’s take a look:
1. Exposure to pests and to the elements
Pests such as flies, cockroaches and mice are much more prevalent in open areas than enclosed kitchen spaces (as are their droppings!). Also, increased sunlight (heat) and moisture exposure can speed up the growth of fungi, bacteria and mould on foods.
Street food vendors must take extra precautions to make sure food is protected from exposure. Food should be covered or sealed when not being prepared, and extra precautions should be taken to ensure foodstuffs are stored at the correct temperature. Mice can easily chew through cardboard and paper wrappings, so be sure to use robust containers and packaging. If food is left uncovered for display purposes, make sure that it is not accidentally sold.
Microbiological contagion is identified by the FAO as one of the leading street food safety risks. Dangers occur when food handlers have multiple responsibilities, such as taking out garbage, handling money or working machinery.
Be sure to keep preparation areas separate from other work areas, and assign designated food handlers. Keep food away from machinery to avoid toxicity contamination, and always use disposable vinyl gloves when handling food. If possible, avoid touching food directly with the hands, and use tongs or utensils where appropriate.
3. Hygiene standards
Clean water is more difficult to come by in outdoor spaces, so take extra precautions to ensure that a fresh supply is available for staff hygiene and surface cleaning. Staff should follow FSA personal hygiene regulations, and remember to wash hands, wear clean clothing, use hair nets and report any illness. Workspaces and utensils should be kept clean by removing dirt and applying a disinfectant, before rinsing with fresh water.
If you (or your street food vendor) is following these guidelines, then you’re good to go! For more information on food safety for street vendors get in touch with us here at Hawk.