Grading the food carts
One Queens politician is aiming to make choosing the right food cart as easy as “A, B, C.”
Senator Jose Peralta, who represents Jackson Heights, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst and Woodside, recently introduced a bill that would require local health departments across the state to evaluate and assign a letter grade to mobile food carts. The legislation, which is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks, would invoke a similar rating system to the one performed on restaurants.
“The idea is that whether buying a meal in a restaurant or from a mobile food vendor, consumers should know that what they are eating has met certain food standards,” said Peralta. “Food carts already have to undergo inspections, and this would be bringing some transparency to it and bring a powerful incentive to vendors to make sure that their operation is neat and clean. Being able to post on ‘A’ on your cart is an awfully good marketing tool, so at the end of the day, it is good for consumers and it is good for businesses.”
If the bill passes, mobile food units will be given an “A,” “B” or “C” – with all lower grades considered failing marks – and vendors will be required to post their grades in front of their carts. All units that receive lower than an “A” will also be re-examined no less than seven and no more than 21 days from their initial inspection. Carts that receive an “A” will be evaluated at least once a year, with a “B” leading to an inspection at least once every nine months, and a “C” requiring a check-up every three months.
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