Like brick-and-mortar restaurants before them, food trucks and food carts may soon be displaying the letter grade results of Health Department inspections alongside the price for hot dogs.
On Tuesday, legislation introduced by Queens State Senator Jose Peralta passed in the Senate that would require inspection results to be publicly posted, with the City Council's Health Committee approving a similar bill that would require both receiving and displaying letter grades issued by the DOH. Hopefully mobile vendors are as artistically-minded as their restaurant counterparts.
The initiative has support not only from pols but from some operators of the carts themselves, who see the grades as an opportunity to prove they are clean, well-run businesses, in addition to setting themselves apart from other vendors.
"It's great for my business because I expect to get an A, and customers will want to buy from me because I got the A," cart owner Abdelalim Abdelbaky—whose cart was embroiled in the $30 hot dog scandal—told the Post.
Industry advocates also approve of the proposed measure, provided it also addresses other issues faced by street vendors, including strict city rules regarding who can operate a mobile food business and how.
"At the New York Food Truck Association (NYFTA), we think food trucks should be held to the same food safety regulations as brick-and-mortar restaurants, not only including letter grades, but also addressing the onerous food safety permitting process for food truck employees," Ben Goldberg, Founder and CEO New York Food Truck Association, said in a statement.
While the legislation passed 57 to 5 in the Senate, it still faces a journey through the Assembly before advancing any further towards the Governor. Opponents are saying the state bill doesn't do enough to address issues including air and noise pollution from trucks and carts, while others think this should be a matter best left with the city and not the state, the Daily News reports.
Peralta's been working on this issue since at least 2011 and recently released inspection data from mobile food operators in the five boroughs. One vendor in Manhattan—the borough with the most food trucks and the highest rate of violations—racked up 52 violation points during one inspection. Meh. Is it really a dirty water dog without an element of danger?