NewsLocal News


NYC food carts should get health department letter grades, new legislation says

Posted at 4:52 PM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 16:58:42-05

NEW YORK — Food carts in New York City might be getting graded soon.

A new legislation is calling for all food trucks and carts in the five boroughs to display sanitary letter grades given by the New York City Health Department.

The legislation, sponsored by Queens councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, was proposed Wednesday and would treat street food vendors like restaurants.

“You go to a food cart, and you really don’t know its sanitary condition,” Koslowitz said in a news release. “Our current grading system works for well restaurants, and I believe it would be good for the City’s food carts as well.”

“The consumer has a right to know to what degree a cart is in compliance. This way the public can make an informed choice as to whether to eat at a particular food cart.”

There are about 20,000 street food vendors in the city, according to the Street Vendor Project, a non-profit organization part of the Urban Justice Center.

Some New Yorkers told PIX11 News the grades are a good idea.

“I think that’s a wonderful idea. We have to know what kind quality of food we are eating,” a man said.

“We don’t know the sanitary arrangements,” another woman said. She told PIX11 News it would also make her feel better if food carts posted the sanitary grades.

The proposed regulation has already earned support from the Street Vendor Project.

“We have long supported letter grading for food carts. Right now, vendors get all the bad (frequent health inspections, heavy fines) with none of the good (the chance to put up an A grade for the world to see),” the organization wrote in a Facebook post.

The Health Department has been requiring restaurants to display the letter grades since 2010. A health inspector would survey the businesses and give an A, B or C grade based on number of violations and fines. The lower the number, the better the grade.

About 24,000 restaurants have sanitary letter grades posted.