Sure, all the fancy brick-and-mortar restaurants in the city will be posting letter grades from the DOH, but what about this roasted pig? City Council member Dan Garodnick has introduced legislation that would make street vendors publicly display letter grades so consumers know just how clean that hot dog is, whether they want to or not. On his website, Garodnick says, "Whether it’s a falafel, a taco — or even a hot dog — consumers deserve to know that the food that they are eating has been prepared and handled properly, no matter where they buy it."
The system would be the same as in restaurants, with A denoting sanitary conditions, B is passing but less sanitary and C is failing. Though the legislation was introduced a year ago, Garodnick believes it has a good chance of passing now because of the new DOH rules. He told Our Town, "There are, obviously, parallels between food handling and service in restaurants and that which is done from a cart."
However, critics say harsh health inspectors could hurt vendor sales. The Urban Justice Center's Street Vendor Project works to protect vendor's rights, and believes this would just add to the list of minor infractions vendors frequently get fined for. SVP director Sean Basinski told us, "We are not opposed to the principle of having more information for our customers. It is the execution by the Health Department that we don't trust."