June 12, 2012 |

Even temporary food vendors need health department permit

Vendors selling food and beverages from mobile carts or stands on sidewalks, in parking lots or at any other temporary location without a permit is a violation of food safety regulations.

The Allegheny County Health Department recently ordered a mobile vendor in the Strip District closed for operating without a permit and having other serious food safety violations, including foods at unsafe temperatures, inadequate facilities for maintaining safe temperatures, no means of sanitizing and no hand sanitizer.

Temporary vendors are subject to the same food safety requirements as a fixed food facility and must be approved and inspected by the Health Department.

Unlicensed vendors pose a health risk because if they aren't inspected there is no assurance that food is being prepared and handled in a safe and sanitary manner. Such vendors operate under the radar and often escape inspection until something goes wrong and leads to a food poisoning outbreak.

Health officials say those planning to use a caterer for a graduation party, wedding or other special occasion this summer should play it safe and make sure the caterer has a permit. Check with the Health Department by calling 412-687-ACHD to see if the caterer or vendor has a permit.

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