Food trucks differ from brick-and-mortar restaurants in many ways, from target clientele to their lack of permanent address.
But there is one standard food industry leaders say the two should be held equally accountable to: sanitation.
As the Chapel Hill Town Council holds a public hearing on possible changes to the town’s food trucks ordinance tonight, some restaurant owners are challenging the measure not just because it could bring new competition, but also because they say the food vendors might be unsanitary.
Rob Moll, an owner of R&R Grill on Franklin Street, said he doesn’t think food trucks are equipped to safely prepare food.
Moll said his restaurant takes extra safety precautions when preparing food that he thinks food trucks don’t.
“We have fresh running water, and our utensils are washed with high temperature dishwashers,” he said. “They’re in a truck; where are they supposed to have space for that?”
Tom Konsler, environmental health director for the Orange County Health Department, said food trucks are required to follow the same rules as traditional restaurants when handling food.
Regulations governing food temperature, where food comes from, garbage disposal and the handling of equipment and utensils apply to both restaurants and food trucks, he said.
But Konsler said while traditional restaurants are required to post a letter grade of their sanitation score, food trucks sanitation are graded on a pass/fail scale.