City revamps food truck inspection codes

Students who dine at lunch trucks on campus have the choice between traditional Asian meals, Mexican cuisine, Italian food or American dishes that are all sold from trucks; but they also might be trading cleanliness for this variety.

Of the nation’s 10 largest cities, Philadelphia was the only city that didn’t require annual inspections and failed to routinely inspect mobile food carts until recently, when amendments were made to city code.

For years, Philadelphia was not only casual in regards to inspections, but also in making inspections results available to the public. Mobile vendors’ units are inspected when the vendor applies for a food vendor license, but are rarely inspected afterwards unless prompted by numerous complaints. In June, City Council member Marian Tasco, who is also the Chair of Public Health and Human Services, found Philadelphia’s policy on inspection so disturbing that she introduced an ordinance in an attempt to curtail the focus of the post inspections results online in an attempt to educate the public about vendor’s health code violations or a lack of violations.

While most vendors on Temple’s main campus passed inspections without citations, there were a few, such as a truck located near Johnson and Hardwick Hall, which failed inspection. Nonetheless, some students, such as junior electrical engineering major Lee Chavous said an inspection of the mobile vendors isn’t a big deal:

“I don’t really care if the trucks aren’t inspected routinely. I’m not worried,” Chavous said. “If I like how the food tastes, then I eat there.”

Sean Rodd, a senior biology major, shares Chavous view. “It’s a little disturbing, but I never got sick … as long I don’t see anything nasty then I don’t care,” Rodd said.

While some customers agree that inspections
are not important, others said they found it hard to believe that trucks aren’t frequently inspected.

“I think they [vendors] should get inspected more often,” said Shanice Jackson, a security guard who works near Temple. “I get my lunch from these trucks about two to three times a week, but some of my co-workers eat at them everyday. I would hope they are clean inside

“Psychology major Charia Thompson shared Jackson’s position.”

Sometimes I wonder if workers wash their hands…some [vendors] have sinks and others don’t,” Thompson said. “I try not to go to certain trucks that look dirty on the outside or have bad smells coming from them. I just stay away.

Courtney Makupson can be reached at

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