HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Food trucks are booming in popularity, but who's watching to make sure the food they serve is safe?
The food trucks seem to be popping up everywhere and are the trendiest option in cuisine.
Woody and Cindy Wood ran a brick and mortar restaurant for decades, and since retiring they've been selling hot dogs from a food truck they named Woody’s for a few days a week.
They say when it comes to food safety, it's actually watched closer when they're on wheels.
“I wouldn't say that it's necessarily that different, obviously there's more restrictions when you're vending,” Cindy Wood said. “You can condense a lot of equipment into a small space to make sure you're up to code.”
The Channel 3 I-Team wanted to know who is watching those food trucks.
In Hartford, the answer is Elizabeth Kavanah and her team of inspectors at the Hartford Dept. of Health and Human Services.
“We are diligent and vigorous about inspecting our food trucks. Many of the same requirements that we have for brick and mortar establishments we also apply to food service on wheels,” Kavanah said.
Just like in a restaurant, inspectors make surprise visits at least once a year, if not more often, to check that the food sold from the city's food trucks is safe.
“We have a 69-point inspection page and we want to make sure the food handlers are handling the food properly and if there are any risks that they can be corrected immediately,” Kavanah said.
It may be a quick way to get lunch, but it certainly isn't a quick way to get into business.
In Hartford the application is 16 pages long, full of information they need to know before they'll even consider letting you open a food truck in the capitol city.
If all the food can't be prepared on the truck, operators must show that it's made in an inspected commercial kitchen.
The vehicles or trailers are also inspected and given an annual sticker that allows them to operate in Hartford.
“We have not seen a decrease in our applications in the last 5 years,” Kavanah said.
Consumers say they’re happy to hear someone is checking on the food trucks, but said unlike a restaurant, a lot of what happens in a food truck they can inspect themselves.
“For me, it's easier to see what they do, in a restaurant it's behind the scenes. Here you see how they handle the food how they prep it,” said Steve Readout.
Some food truck operators in Hartford said the city has some of the toughest inspection standards for them, but every health district does them.
Just like with restaurant inspections, the reports are available to the public, and in Hartford the truck operator has to have a copy of the latest report ready to give to any customer who wants to see it.