Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Austin City Council passes resolution, may allow for on-site food truck inspections

Kennedy Weatherby
Pedestrians walk in front of the food trucks on 21st Street on Wednesday.

The Austin City Council passed a resolution on March 21 that could streamline annual permitting processes by bringing inspectors to food trucks.

The resolution allows the city to explore options related to permit applications and health inspection processes for mobile food establishments, like food trucks. Currently, owners must submit an annual application to the Environmental Health Services Division and then travel to the division’s facility for physical inspections and permitting, said Todd Mers, public health program manager for the Environmental Health Services Division. 

Raul Larios, owner of The Big Taquito, a Mexican food truck outside the Student Services Building, said it makes more sense for inspectors to visit the food trucks so they do not have to shut down and potentially lose income.

“It also minimizes the risk of damage to your food truck,” Larios said. “In the process of moving, if you crash it, then you’re out of a business basically because you can’t open it until they repair it.” 

Steven Deleon, owner of Noam’s Gelato & Bean in West Campus, said transporting his truck for inspections is a significant challenge.

“I have an older truck. We don’t really move a lot throughout the year if at all,” Deleon said. “So just getting it out of the park, making sure it works, it can be quite a challenge.” 

Deleon said he sees benefits in having inspectors individually come to the food trucks because they could “see the trucks in action.” 

“It allows them to see where the trucks are at, see the communities they are in (and make) sure everything’s up to speed,” Deleon said. 

In terms of implementing the resolution, Mers said the division is determining if it has enough staff to perform on-site inspections.

Another part of the resolution aims to make the inspection and permitting process more inclusive by providing resources in different languages. Larios said he knows many people in the food truck industry who do not speak English, and this resolution is a step in the right direction. 

“(The city) should keep trying to understand and get to know the demographic and the people that work in this industry so there could be more accommodations and accessibility moving forward,” Larios said. 

Mers said the Environmental Health Services Division will go back to the City Council on May 30 to propose new options for the food truck inspection and permitting process.  

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