Hygiene and Sanitization for Mobile Coffee Truck

Your mobile coffee truck or espresso bar will have to maintain both federal, state and city laws regarding sanitization. Remember, it only takes one person to get sick from your food before they tell everyone at every chance they have to tell people to stay away from your business. As a business owner your reputation is based on the habits you build. Make your life easy. Set up your shop so that it's easy to clean. Remember, the easier your place is to keep clean, the more likely it will stay clean.


Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a protocol used by the government to help assess and regulate the sanitization of retail food services. The website is located here HACCP if you want more information. Below is a basic breakdown of how the system works. But again, it's your responsiblity to ensure that your establishment maintains those standards.


Purchasing should come from a reputable, permitted vendor. Trash in, is trash out. If you are buying supplies from your uncles, brother's, cousin's bestfriends baby's mama, then you're going to get junk. Ensure that the company you decide to do business with is permitted by your local Environmental Health department.


This is where things can start going bad on your watch. You'll want to make sure that the supplies you are receiving are in good condition and not expired or near an expired date. Once you have them in your possesion, get them into a stored area where they can be maintained in an optimal condition. In other words, make sure your milk isn't expired and get it into the fridge quickly.


Keep food away from water when it's being stored. Make sure your storage area is away from your dish area. Also, keep your food away from chemicals and your garbage can. If you remove food from the original package ensure you place it in an clean, airtight container.

There are 3 ways food gets stored:

  • Dry: Ensure the food is not warm when placing into storage containers. The food will "sweat" as it cools off and produce water in the container. Room temperture is considered between 50' and 70'F. Food should be stored at this temp. Keep items off the floor. Keep items organized so that the first in are also the first out. 

  • Refridgeration: To start off, food needs to remain below 41'. If food is raised above 40' for greater than 2 hours, it has to be thrown out. Make sure that your doors seal well and that they lock while in transit. Keep your fridge clean. At some point your are going to spill milk and I'll tell you from experience, you want to clean that as fast and throughly as possible. 

  • Freezer: Freezer bags can help. Label everything and make sure it's date. Remember, the freezer doesn't kill bacteria, it just stops them from multiplying. Don't freeze large quantities on one bag. Break them up into smaller usable bags. Make sure there is room to circulate air around the food. Keep your freezer at 0' F. 

Bad Smells
  • Pull out all food.Clean with vinegar and water. Make sure the moisture trap in the back of the fridge is clean as well. Lay some baking soda down on the bottom. Give it 24 hours. If it still stinks, use commerical chemicals to clean it up.


Food must be thawed away from the preparation area. Keep your preperation area clean with bleach water (1 teaspon in a gallon will give you a 65 ppm). Make sure you label your bottles. In my permitting process they wanted to see my sanitization bottles and test them.

Cooking and Beverage Brewing

Ensure that you are cooking food to a correct temp. Also, once a drink has been made, serve it.


Hot food should be held at 140'F. If not refridgerate it. Just because food has been cooked or milk has been steamed doesn't mean it is in the clear. Get it out at this point or throw it away.


When a food has been heated and then cooled, it allows bacteria to grow. During the cooling process you can have food go bad. So if you are precooking your food, make sure that you are immediately cooling your food so that it's not sitting on this shelf going bad.


There some common sense stuff that can help prevent contamination:

  • Make sure to wash your hands

  • Serve with clean utensils

  • Don't touch the mouth part of your lids

  • Keep any cuts clean and use gloves if they are on your hands

  • If gloves get dirty, throw them away

  • Money is dirty. Wash your hands between money handling and food serving