TAMPA - Taco Bus advertises an eatery "where broken English is perfectly spoken," but state inspectors documented in plain English the reasons it shut down a Taco Bus food truck for five days.
Our I-Team uncovered the Taco Bus mobile food truck number two located at 913 E. Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa had to stop serving food after inspectors saw over 20 live roaches crawling inside.
According to the state, on April 28 at 10:20 a.m., inspectors discovered live roaches by the reach-in cooler, drink cooler and cook's line along with roach droppings on the walls next to the reach-in cooler.
Inspectors also saw live, small flying insects in the kitchen, food preparation area, or food storage area.
I spoke to Taco Bus spokesman Elliott Ramsdell and his PR Agency Social Faucet sent me a statement that reads in part, "The Food Truck that was found to have violations was not in service at the time and had not been prepared for catering operations."
Ramsdell also stated that Taco Bus food truck was brought in for routine mechanical service and hadn't been in use since April 9. But state inspectors found food stored on that food truck at dangerous temperatures on April 28.
The inspection report documented steak at 50 degrees, beans at 48 degrees, and cheese at 47 degrees when all cold food should be 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
Other violations written up include required employee training expired for some employees and the hand wash sink not accessible for employees to use because of items stored in the sink. The Taco Bus food truck was cleared to reopen on May 2 at 9:54 a.m.
Full response from Taco Bus spokesman Elliott Ramsdell:
On April 28 th , 2016, Taco Bus Management was notified of a State of Florida Health Department Temporary Closure of one of our mobile Food Trucks parked in the alternate lot at 913 E Hillsborough Avenue Tampa, Florida 33603. This food truck, VIN: 5b4hp42r743382748; Mobile License Number: MFD3951927 , is a vehicle used specifically for offsite catering functions. It was most recently operational the weekend of April 9th and then entered routine mechanical service at a local thirdparty shop and had not been in use since. On May 2 nd , 2016, the State of Florida Health Department cleared of all violations and closures.
In response to recent media articles and news stories, Taco Bus issues the following statement:
“We pride ourselves on serving the absolute best and most authentic Mexican food. Our brickandmortar restaurants, food trucks, and catering vehicles are meticulously maintained to the highest standards of cleanliness. The Food Truck that was found to have violations was not in service at the time and had not been prepared for catering operations. We thank our loyal fans for their support, and hope this clears up any misunderstanding the recent media reports have created. With over 250 employees and eight locations in the Tampa Bay area, we consider it an honor to serve our food to the people in our area that have been rollin’ with The Bus since 2002.”