By Don Ford

(KPIX 5) — The days of calling food trucks “Roach Coaches” are long gone! The food truck of today is nothing short of a modern restaurant, and the Contra Costa County says those trucks will now be held to the same strict standards of regular restaurants.

Food trucks have always needed permits, licenses and health department inspections. Now, they will have color-coded placards grading the results of surprise inspections.

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“If it’s green, that means the truck is doing a really good job,” said Supervising Environmental Health Specialist Joe Doser. “If it’s got a yellow placard up, means there’s some issues that they need to work on and do better on. If it has a red placard up, [Don’t eat there!] They won’t be able to. The vehicle will be closed by us.”

Restaurants have had public placards for years. Amador Patino owns La Primavera Restaurant and also has a food truck. “What’s the difference between a lunch truck and a restaurant? It’s an eating place so I don’t see a difference. I’m glad they brought [the inspections].” said Patino.

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One inspector said the La Primavera Truck is an example of how a clean truck should be: clean, well equipped and maintained.

“I think it’s a great idea because a lot of the stigma that goes around with taco trucks and food trucks in general is that, you know, people think they’re dirty and don’t trust them,” said customer Max Flynn. “So if you get a passing grade up in the window, that whole stigma goes away.”

Doser says there are 200 licensed food trucks in Contra Costa County and the surprise inspections are starting this week. “It will be happening any time after April 15th, they will be subject to unannounced inspections in the field while they are operating, serving food to the general public,” said Doser.

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The process to grade all the county’s food trucks will take several months.