Publication Date


Executive Summary

Convenience, low cost, and opportunities to experience unique flavors have led to an increase in street food consumption worldwide. There are approximately 117,000 food trucks in the U.S., representing approximately $857 million in sales annually. Some of these food trucks are unlicensed and some truck vendors are unwilling to comply with requirements for food preparation, permits, parking, and inspection processes. Data were collected from food trucks in Orlando, Florida in order to have a clear understanding of risk factors. Food samples were collected from food trucks and analyzed for microbiological contamination. To investigate possible safety risks, 30 different samples were collected, and contamination levels of the most common bacteria associated with foodborne infections, E. coli and Salmonella spp. The research findings imply that, even under strict food regulations, harmful bacterial contamination is a risk when eating street food from food trucks. Our findings further highlight food safety risks and ineffectiveness of routine food safety inspections of food trucks, even if they pass inspection. Consumers’ vigilance in reporting food safety issues, combined with frequent monitoring, can further help reduce public health risks and increase consumer awareness and well-being.