Frozen Food Tips for Food Trucks


Being a part of modern life, refrigeration is something that many of us do not really pay attention to. But for food truck entrepreneurs, not understanding this process and how it affects the quality of food can spell disaster to the business. Here are some challenges that mobile vendors need to understand regarding frozen food products.

Keeping frozen food at a safe temperature is one of the biggest challenges when it come to food trucks. This is dependent on the design of your electrical system. Food truck operators that want to use their refrigerators while in transit can use generators or dedicated battery banks to operate the equipment. But some states do not allow generators to be operated inside trucks while others do, as long as the vehicle is fitted with an exhaust system and have sufficient ventilation.quote1

Mounting the generator outside the truck may be a good solution. Some suggest using the batteries of the truck to keep the refrigerator or freezer powered up but this may only work for small appliances (usually those that only require 12Volts to operate). Commercial-type refrigerators often run on 120Volts. It is best to check local health codes and regulations to make sure if you can install such electrical systems to operate refrigerators or freezers while in transit.

Fortunately, modern refrigeration equipment can keep its contents cold or frozen even if it is turned off, as long as the food to be transported has been pre-cooled to zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) prior to loading. A full freezer can keep its temperature for up to 48 hours (24 hours if half-full). This means you do not have to keep the equipment powered on while traveling from one vending spot to the next.

foodtruck_fridgeAnother challenge regarding frozen food is the necessity to design and integrate efficient procedures that the staff can easily adhere to. Document protocols that employees will follow in reaction to various situations, including:

  • How to maintain consistent temperature of frozen products?
  • How to prevent cross-contamination?
  • How to label and rotate inventory of frozen food?
  • What is the quickest way to serve frozen product?
  • What to do when the freezer suddenly fail?

Because frozen food are perishable items, having the right procedures for storing, handling, merchandising, and contingencies will not only preserve the safety and quality of your products but also help prevent added costs or profit loss to your business even in time of emergencies.

Here are some things to remember so you can cope in case the power goes out and your refrigerator or freezer stops operating:

  • Make sure your refrigerator or freezer has a thermometer to make sure food are kept at safe temperatures. The safe temperature for refrigerators is 40 degree Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), while for freezers is zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) or lower.frozentomatoes
  • When choosing vending spots, know where you can find dry ice or ice blocks on that area in case of emergency.
  • When the power goes out, keep the doors of refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Full freezers can hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours for half-full). If the freezer is not full, arrange the contents to form an “igloo” so that food that do not easily thaw can keep others cold longer.
  • Separate frozen raw meat by putting them on trays to prevent their juices from dripping to other food when they begin to thaw.
  • Discard perishable foods that have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 degrees Celsius) for two hours or more.
  • When in doubt to the quality of the food, throw it out.
  • For frozen food, check for ice crystals. Food that have been partially thawed can be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or has a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
  • Never test the safety of food by tasting it. provides convenient charts that can help you evaluate whether to save or throw out food in case of power outages.

Chart for refrigerated food:
Chart for frozen food:

This can be the trickiest challenge when it comes to frozen food. Different products require different storage temperatures. Knowing the right storage temperature not only affects food safety but also food quality. Heat shock, temperature fluctuations due to the process of freezing, thawing then refreezing, can cause the development of ice crystals (most noticeably in ice cream) that can affect texture, consistency, and even taste of products. Another example is delicate leafy greens that are susceptible to freezing or wilting when not stored at the right temperature.frozenfruit

But the science of frozen or refrigerated food is not limited to storing. Knowing how to properly thaw or defrost food for preparation is vital to avoid negatively impacting the way they get cooked. Moisture build-up on the surface of certain foods (like french fries or breaded chicken) due to temperature fluctuations can lead to uneven browning, flaky texture, or drying out, which can turn off customers. Improperly stored or thawed food can also impact the usable life of frying oil and increase your operating costs.

Refrigeration and frozen food are blessings to mobile food vendors due to the convenience they provide. Inventory with long shelf life, a wide variety of available products, and the ability to create various dishes anywhere free food truck businesses from limitations. Ideally, nothing can compare to the taste and nutritional value of fresh ingredients but frozen food can also have its advantages. And with adequate planning, good research, and proper implementation mobile food entrepreneurs can break the ice, get pass the challenges, and succeed with frozen food products.


Thank you for reading!

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Food Safety for Food Trucks

Above else, food safety must be the priority of mobile food entrepreneurs. Knowing how to properly store, handle, and cook ingredients can prevent any risk to the health and welfare of customers, not to mention damage to your food truck business.

Consequences of Unsafe Food Truck Operation
Mishandling food being sold to customers can have a huge impact, not just to your business but to the food truck industry as a whole. According to a recent article in the TIME Magazine, the initial findings by the World Health Organization shown that there is a growing problem when it comes to food-borne illness worldwide. There was 582 million cases of 22 different food-borne diseases documented in 2010, with associated deaths of 351,000.

15594629472_463a604c34_hThese trouble figures should serve as a reminder to food truck operators that the threat of improper buying, handling, or storing of food can be a great threat to the lives of their customers. The negative effect of mishandling food served to the public is not only a health issue but can also become an economic problem. A bad experience due to a contaminated food truck product can result to negative publicity that the industry cannot afford to have. At the moment, the food truck market is still growing and even though many customers have embraced mobile cuisine, the industry is still under great scrutiny in many places.

Even one case of food poisoning can become a death sentence for a food truck business. Consequences of such incident can include legal liability, victim compensation, loss of sales, and damage to reputation, not to mention the stress of knowing your business is the reason for another person’s suffering. These consequences can also affect other business and the food truck industry as a whole.

Which is why mobile food businesses must put food safety at the top of their priorities. Time, skill, and money should be invested in making sure that customers will receive food that are delicious, affordable, and above else, safe.

Buying Ingredients
VEGGIESDepending whether they are bought fresh or frozen, fruits, vegetables, and meat have different requirements when it comes to their preparation. Fresh produce must be inspected for bruises or damages. If buying pre-cut fresh produce, only purchase those that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice. Also, only buy the amount of fresh ingredients that can be used or consumed immediately. Some fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly those sourced from far places, are harvested before they are ripe to prevent damage while shipping. They can travel for days or weeks, arrive in the local grocery store, and then sit on the shelf for several more days. At this point, they have ripen but have less than optimum quality and nutritional content. Buying locally sourced fresh ingredients is the best assurance that they are safe, have high quality, and still retain their full nutrients.

Frozen ingredients may not be appealing to some but frozen produce and meat can provide great benefits. Freezing ingredients extend their shelf life and in most instances, lock-in nutrients and prevent moisture loss. Some frozen fruits and vegetables can have more nutrients compared to those that have been left on grocery shelves for several days.

A series of studies have shown that after three days of storage, frozen blueberries contain higher polyphenols and anthocyanins, while frozen broccoli has higher vitamin C and beta-carotene. Frozen sprouts have higher over-all nutritional content compared to shelf-stored fresh variant.

Some vitamins and minerals may be reduced or damaged by the freezing process, but if fresh ingredients are unavailable or need to be sourced from long distances, frozen ingredients can be a good alternative.

Food Handling and Preparation
The bruise and discoloration in fresh fruits and vegetables is often just physical damage to the produce’s cells, letting oxygen in and break down the cell walls. But it is advisable to use bruised produce immediately as they can experience deterioration and development of molds if left too long. If there are indication (through smell or sight) that the fresh produce has fungal activity, discard it immediately. If the fruit or vegetable is already showing signs of infection, do not attempt to salvage it by just cutting away the uninfected part. It is better to be safe than sorry, as the saying goes.

Proper hand washing is critical!

Proper hand washing is critical!

Also, hand washing before and after handling ingredients (even fresh produce) is extremely important. The United States Food and Drug Administration suggest washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Washing the ingredients under running water, regardless whether they are grown conventionally, organically, or harvested from your home garden, is also vital. Drying produced using a paper towel or clean cloth after washing can help reduce bacteria that may still remain.

Handling potentially hazardous foods (those that require to be refrigerated or frozen) can be a challenge. Never take potentially hazardous foods out of storage unless they will be used immediately. Rotate inventory by implementing a “first in, first out” system to ensure ingredients are used before their expiration dates. Use separate containers while preparing or thawing frozen ingredients to prevent water or juices from contaminating other ingredients.

Always ensure proper cooking temps!

Always ensure proper cooking temps!

Also, ensure to thaw frozen ingredients safely to limit bacterial growth before cooking. Thawing frozen meat inside the refrigerator is the best option, though it can take a long time. Another way is to defrost frozen ingredients inside sealed packages using a basin of cold water (a pot, a bowl, or in the sink) and leave it submerged for 30 minutes, then change the water until the food is defrosted. Never use hot water to defrost frozen ingredients because the heat can warm the surface of the food and can lead to faster bacterial growth. Some frozen pastries can be defrosted at room temperature or using a microwave but it is not advisable to use these methods to thaw meat, fish, and vegetables.

Some suppliers of frozen food also put instructions on how to handle their products and it is best to adhere to these recommendations.

Fresh ingredients usually only last for several days. Never buy and store fresh ingredients if they cannot be used or consumed immediately. Store perishable ingredients at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Always refrigerate pre-cut or peeled ingredients to keep their quality and nutritional content. It is always advisable to store fresh ingredients (even fruits and vegetables) separately because various types of food can degrade in different rates.

You can freeze almost every food to store them but whether their quality will remain after defrosting is another matter. Having separate thermometers for refrigerators and freezers is the best way to make sure that safe temperatures are being maintained. Safe temperature for refrigerators is 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), while for freezers is zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) or lower. Storage equipment must be checked and cleaned regularly.

By |January 7th, 2016|Categories: blog, food truck safety, starting a food truck|0 Comments

Keep Your Food Truck Generator Running

Portable Generator



Powering ovens, blenders, and refrigerators on-the-go, a portable generator is essential to the successful operation of mobile food business. Due to its importance and the amount of required initial expense, food truck owners need to make sure they get the most out of their generators throughout its life-cycle.

Generator failures are not just inconvenient but can also lead to your mobile food business missing opportunities and losing revenue.


Impact of Underloading

How you use a generator can affect its efficiency, performance, and reliability. Some models of generators (particularly, diesel and gas engine generators) are designed to operate with a certain amount of load. If such generators are underloaded for extended periods, the engine can experience “wet stacking” and get damaged due to the unburned oil, fuel, and other particle deposits.

Generally, standby-rated and prime-rated diesel engine generators are designed to be operated between 50 and 85 percent while continuous-rated diesel engines are optimized between 70 to 100 percent load. Underloading a diesel engine generator for long periods of time can impact its performance and long-term operational life. Light load operation (less than 30 percent) of diesel engine generators should only be 30 minutes for every four hours. After the time limit, diesel generators must be run on at least 70 percent load for the next two hours.

Generators that run using natural gas or bio-gas are typically designed to operate between 60 to 100 percent load. Adequate load is required to ensure that the generator engine’s cylinders have enough pressure to maintain oil control. Deposit build-up on generator components like valves, spark plugs, and piston rings can cause cylinder liner polishing, accelerated component wear, poor performance, and power loss. Natural gas engines are more sensitive to underloading so check the recommended time limits below.

Low load operation time limits for natural gas generator sets:

0 to 30 percent load = 30 minutes operation

31 to 50 percent load = 2 hours operation

51 to 100 percent load = Continuous (the manifold air pressure must be greater than the atmospheric pressure.)

The inefficient use of your generator set can increase your generator’s maintenance cost and downtime that results to your food truck business incurring loss that are otherwise preventable.

Generator Maintenance

Some of the common reasons why generators fail are wet stacking, fuel and oil leaks, faulty level gauges, corroded or worn out connections, and battery failure. Due to the vital part it plays in your food truck’s operation, doing proper maintenance is important to make sure your generator remains reliably.

Making the time to check the condition of your generator ensures that you will get the most out of your investment and prevent sudden failures that can halt your food truck’s operation. Letting a professional service and maintain your generator is the best option, for convenience and peace of mind. Seek the assistance of a mechanic or technician for routine maintenance like checking fluid levels, verifying control panel readings and indicators, or inspection for wear and tear, among others. Maintenance schedules (annual, semi-annual, or quarterly) should be followed based on manufacturer’s recommendations to increase reliability and apply preventive measures.

Fixing a generator

If you want to do basic maintenance on a generator yourself, refer to the owner’s manual for details regarding manufacturer’s guidelines. The following inspection and parts replacement can be done by generator owners themselves (may vary depending on your generator’s model or manufacturer):


  • Checking and charging the battery
  • Inspecting oil level
  • Changing engine oil (dispose used oil properly by following local regulations)
  • Cleaning or changing filters
  • Inspecting or replacing spark plug

Remember to only use recommended replacement parts for your generator. When looking for those parts check the company’s website for replacement parts, or another highly recommended website is (  They have many different parts for  all kinds of generators. They are very inexpensive and reliable parts.  They have all brands and you can search for parts by specific brand and model of your generator. It’s super easy!

Another website you may find your parts on is (  They also have inexpensive parts and they have generic parts and parts by specific brand name model.  All their parts are very reliable and durable.

Also, if you are looking for videos on how to do the repairs yourself. Youtube is a great source to finding amazing videos on how to do it! I can’t tell you how many times their “how-to” videos have helped me out. They helped me replace parts in my car!

Safety Tips

The proper use of your generator not only prevents it from failing when you need it the most but also protects you, your business, and customers from harm. Here are some tips on how to avoid risks and dangers when using portable generators:

  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm and never operate a generator in an enclosed area. Carbon monoxide is a dangerous colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be fatal to anyone with prolonged high level exposure.
  • Never use the generator in wet conditions to avoid electric shocks.
  • Never plug the generator to a wall outlet to power a house (known as backfeeding) as it is very dangerous to utility workers repairing power lines and neighbors served by the same utility transformer.
  • Do not overload the generator. Do not underload generators for long periods of time.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator or use extension cords rated for the load.
  • Turn off appliances connected to the generator before shutting down the generator.
  • Never refuel the generator while in use. Let it cool down before refueling.
  • Do not store extra fuel near the generator. Fuel fumes can get ignited by an electric spark. Keep a fire extinguisher ready in case of emergencies.
  • Stay away from some parts of the generator that heat up during operation to prevent burns.
  • Do not use the generator for more than the recommended run time.


By |June 20th, 2015|Categories: blog, food truck safety|0 Comments

Make Your Food Truck Allergy Aware

Food allergy is on the rise. Due to this, consumers are becoming more aware and discerning with regard to the food they buy and eat. Which is why mobile food vendors should consider food allergy as a top priority not just to eliminate risks for the business but most importantly, to protect the health of customers.

Facts Worth Knowingpeanuts

According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food allergies among children have increased 50% between 1997 to 2011. In the United States, as many as 15 million people (nearly 9 million adults and around 6 million children) have food allergies.

Severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can be life-threatening. Each year, an estimated 30,000 emergency room treatment, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 150 deaths resulted due to anaphylaxis in the US.

The economic cost of children’s food allergies is around $25 billion per year.

Major Food Allergens

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Act of 2004 (FALCPA) lists eight major food allergens:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (e.g. bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans

These major food allergens (and any ingredients containing protein derived from them) account for over 90 percent of all documented food allergies in the U.S. and represent food items most likely to result in severe or life-threatening reactions.

Eliminate RisksNut_warning_1

Food truck operators and employees should understand the importance of being allergy aware. Using a system to make sure customers are protected against allergens will not just prevent health risks and legal issues but also help give your business a positive image.

Here are some tips to make your food truck allergy aware.

  • Make it a policy to ask customers for any allergies upon ordering. Or put signs that list the ingredients your food truck use to inform people and remind them to disclose if they are allergic to such ingredients. It may be law to post a sign asking customer if they have any food allergies – check with your local health department.
  • Implement a food preparation system that prevents cross-contact contamination. Using different utensils for each ingredient, cleaning tools properly, frequent hand washing or use or gloves, and labeling containers are some ways to eliminate cross-contact of allergens to other products.
  • Never make assumptions about ingredients that are derived from other products. Some processed foods, like chopped nuts or canned products, may contain traces of other ingredients because they were processed in the same production line. Always read package labels of ingredients to make sure they do not contain food allergen derivatives.
  • Modify recipes to offer product variations or let customers have the choice to substitute ingredients. Instead of turning a customer away because of a food allergen, give them a “personalized option” that substitutes the ingredient they can’t eat without sacrificing quality or flavor. Offering choices or ability to substitute not only prevent lost of sale but can also improve your business image.

Food allergies should become a priority to mobile food vendors, to safeguard customers and also push business growth. Food trucks and the mobile food industry as a whole will have the highest possibility of success if great tasting products are available and can be enjoyed by everyone.


By |March 17th, 2015|Categories: food truck safety, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Two Food Truck Explosions on the Same Day

There’s nothing we hate to hear more than something happening to anyone in the mobile food industry. While food truck fires and explosions have occurred before, they are extremely rare.

Yesterday the odds where apparently against us as we learned of two major food truck incidents in a single day.

The first was at the White House – a food truck caught fire and caused the White House to go under lock down.  Reports were that there was a loud bang.  President Obama’s plans were temporary disrupted as he was about to leave on a trip.

Here’s some video of the incident:

The 2nd explosion not only destroyed the food truck Motley Crews, but also severely damage the owners’ home and several of the neighbors home as well. In this incident there was also a loud bang reported.

Here are a couple of tweets on the incident:

We can’t imagine the anguish of losing both your home and business in an instant.  A Go Fund Me page has already been setup and people are generously donating using this link:

At the time of writing over 5,000 has already been raise. Please join us in donating, every little bit helps.

Related Post: Food Truck Propane Tank Safety.


By |March 8th, 2015|Categories: blog, food truck safety|0 Comments

Food Truck Propane Tank Safety

Serving high quality and delicious food to customers must always be a top priority for food trucks. But in addition to providing great products, mobile food vendors must also ensure the safety of consumers.

Propane tanks are convenient and economical, which make them the preferred fuel source of food trucks. Even though they are considered stable and safe, propane tanks still possess a certain degree of danger, just like any type of fuel.

6129068772_fe84eda4cf_nBut mobile food vendors do not have to fear as there are simple steps that can be followed regarding propane tank safety and prevent harm to your business or customers.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) offers an informative webinar to guide food truck operators on propane cylinder safety. Watch the video at:

Thank you PHMSA ( for providing such a great resource!

As a quick guide, here are the things food truck operators should keep in mind regarding propane tank safety:

  • Understand the markings on your propane cylinder. These may include symbols that show what type of tank you have, the original manufacture date, and the re-certification date.
  • Know if your tanks need to be re-certified and understand the different kinds of cylinder re-qualification.
  • The age of the tank can affect its performance. Ensure that your cylinders are not beyond their certified number of years.
  • Be familiar to what propane smells like. Propane tank retailers offer scratch pads that can help your employees know the distinct odor of the fuel in case of leakages.
  • Flammable liquids like cleaning agents or gasoline should not be near a gas-burning equipment. Fumes from these can get ignited by the pilot burner.
  • Know where the gas lines are located inside your truck so that they do not get damage when moving kitchen appliance. Also, check the condition of connections to see if there are any leaks.
  • Never attempt to fix a leak yourself. If you suspect a leak, call your supplier immediately! Any appliance connected to problematic cylinder must not be used until the leak is resolved.

Contact your propane tank retailer for any concern you have regarding your tanks. When each vendor does their part in providing a safe and exceptional experience to customers, it benefits not just their business but also the food truck community and industry as whole.

Related Post: Two Food Truck Explosions on the Same Day

By |January 5th, 2015|Categories: blog, food truck safety|0 Comments