KANSAS CITY, MO - Reports show that food trucks across the country are cleaner to eat from than a brick and mortar restaurant, begging the question of where metro food trucks stack up.
Food trucks have gotten a bad rap for years, mostly due to people assuming they are unclean. After 260,000 food safety inspections were reviewed recently across the country, there is new data to debunk that old theory.
The Little Italy food truck is just one of the hundreds in Kansas City. According to a spokesperson with the Jackson County Health Department, there are 238 registered with the city now and 50 more are expected to register before football season kicks off.
Little Italy Owner Michelle Franke is no stranger to the concerns people have.
"They are not clean, they are not regulated, it doesn't matter, they can just throw food out the window," she said as she explained what people have said to her.
But that's not the case. Most food trucks are required to run by the same food code standards as a traditional restaurant. Jackson County Spokesperson Jeff Hershberger said the department inspects the trucks twice a year-- but there's a catch.
"Because we are overseen by different municipalities. So we are here in Kansas, so Kansas regulates us. If I go back to Jackson County, Jackson County regulates me," Franke said.
According to new research from a public law interest firm, Institute for Justice, 260,000 trucks were inspected in seven U.S cities including: Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Every food truck, according to the study, had fewer violations on average than restaurants, except Seattle which tied.
The Jackson County Health Department said the cause is likely because there are fewer employers in the trucks and fewer ingredients.
No matter the reason, it's good news that business is booming for Franke.
"You get to meet so many different people and I still get to cook. I am here with my husband, my mom's in our kitchen, so it's true family," she said.
We requested specific food truck inspection reports from the Jackson County Health Department but were told separate records are not kept for just the trucks. Records are only kept on restaurant and truck violations combined. A spokesperson said nearly all the food trucks in Jackson County never have problems.