New York News

Proposed letter grades for street food vendors

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ever wonder about the cleanliness of your favorite street food cart?

State Senator Jose Peralta is proposing that street vendors be forced to post health department letter grades like the ones in restaurant windows.

"While some vendors will undoubtedly receive C's and it's going to hurt their business but for most of the vendors this is going to help them, it's sort of a stamp of approval," Sean Basinski of the Street Vendor Project said.

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Most customers told us that they agree.

"How many people eat at these food carts everyday in a city of 8 million people? 100,000, who knows? But we have no idea of the rating of the sanitation of the carts? I mean, it really does matter and it affects a lot of people so I think it's a good idea," food cart customer James Neuhaus said.

Still, vendors are a little wary of more regulation.

Back in May the city began a crackdown on food carts and trucks idling for hours and taking up metered parking spaces. Vendors have been crying foul ever since.

The owner of a dumpling cart in lower Manhattan said she received a thousand dollar fine for not properly displaying her license. That's two weeks revenue.

The number of carts on the streets is growing. Restaurants have complained, so have neighbors.

"I think the concern is we don't want people idling. We don't want them running generators for hours and hours creating noise and pollution," Councilmember Jessica Lappin said.

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