Food cart

The Department of Health is looking to crack down on food cart vendors who "repeatedly violate sanitation laws" (like insufficient vermin protection), probably in order to raise revenue. However, the Post questions the effectiveness of the whole food cart inspection system, as the DoH "has failed to confirm a single case of food poisoning, yet it slams vendors with $1,000 fines for transgressions like not wearing a hair net or vending too close to a crosswalk." Some other facts about city food vending from the Post:

- The city can take a seller's license after four violations, but many vendors are still operating with more than 4 tickets - 12 health inspectors monitor nearly 4,000 vendors and 90 garages where they keep their carts - The city will wait two years to reject a license renewal, instead revoking the license of a repeat offender

Ha - that sounds totally like city government style ticking! Another complaint from food vendors: Cops get mixed up about who can and cannot vend over a subway grate (apparently food vendors can, while fake handbag dealers can't). The Health Department says they are looking into ways to "streamline" their processes (maybe a handheld PDA) and Gothamist, for one, is glad, because we do love it when we don't have to go to the hospital with shooting pain radiating from our abdominal area. But we have to admit, eating street food is not for the faint of heart - you have to figure a pigeon could poop in the hot dog water without the vendor knowing. Still, it's not like outdoor vedors are the only perpetrators - fast food restaurants are disgustingly dirty.

The food vending racket is a big deal: There was a story in April about a Greek family that pays the city $3 million to vend in city parks - $536,100 for two carts outside the Metropolitan Museum fo Art alone. Granted, they are charging about $2 for a 12 oz. bottle of water, but that's still a lot of money. Gothamist on other dangers food carts.