Food and Dining

Louisville food truck operators have prompted the Metro health officials to help them prove to consumers they are offering safe, clean food.

Starting this week, the food trucks will start getting letter grades from Metro Public Health and Wellness.

All food trucks are expected to be graded within four months.

The ABC Food Placard Program is already in place for Louisville’s brick and mortar restaurants. The inspection criteria will be identical to that used for food trucks, said Matt Rhodes, deputy director of the Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Food truck operators approached the health department requesting the inspections to help provide consumers with evidence that mobile eateries operate legitimately, Rhodes said.

“We felt strongly this would be an informational tool to provide to the consumer to provide them with information to make a safe food choice and ensure that the facility had been inspected and was permitted to operate,” Rhodes said.

The placards will show a grade of A, B or C, determined by inspection history.  Food trucks that fail to meet health department requirements will receive a C grade and be required to provide inspectors with an operational schedule to ensure a follow-up inspection.

Rhodes said that is part of the inspection process that would normally be applied to brick and mortar restaurants.

Jefferson County is home to nearly 80 establishments registered as a “self-contained mobile food-service establishment,”  Rhodes said. 

He said once a food truck has been inspected and given the approval of the health department they are considered to “safe to eat” and there should be no indication that you should not eat there.

The subject of food safety in Louisville food trucks was widely discussed this summer after a WAVE 3 story and the subsequent backlash.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.