2017-06-07 / Features

Peralta’s Bill On Letter Grading Food Trucks Passed By Senate

As the New York State Senate passed a bill sponsored by Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens) to assign letter grades to pushcarts and food trucks, the Senator and members of the Independent Democratic Conference issued a report, “Grades-on-the-go: An Inside Look Into the Dirtiest Pushcarts & Food Trucks in New York City,” that analyzed inspection data from 2016.

“A vast majority of street vendors support a letter grading system, since it brings increased legitimacy to their businesses. With this more transparent system in place, consumers will have fewer worries about their food being unsafe when they pick up a falafel, a hot dog or a taco on the go. This investigation illustrates the need for transparency,” said Senator Peralta.

To improve the sanitary conditions of these trucks, and to provide consumers with easy access to information on the cleanliness of these establishments, Senator Peralta’s legislation would require that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene convert the existing health inspections into the letter grade equivalent. The restaurants-on-wheels are inspected by New York City’s Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, but the inspections are not made public. Senator Peralta’s legislation would also make it easier for DOHMH to obtain locations for inspections.

Analysts found the six dirtiest carts in the city where inspectors issued violations that could have resulted in a “C.”

Within the five boroughs, Manhattan has the largest concentration of pushcarts and food trucks. The report also found that it had the highest rate of violations per inspection, 1.17 violation(s).

Peralta explained that as a conference, the IDC has long advocated for greater transparency in the conditions of the food that New Yorkers eat. Senator Klein worked on the original letter grading system for restaurants in New York City, and more recently on the posting of cafeteria conditions for schools.

The bill has also been hailed by the industry.

“At the New York Food Truck Association (NYFTA), we think food trucks should be held to the same food safety regulations as brick-and-mortar restaurants, not only including letter grades, but also addressing the onerous food safety permitting process for food truck employees,” said Ben Goldberg, Founder and CEO New York Truck Association.

The bill was also passed unanimously in the City Council. It is up to the mayor to sign it into law.

Letter “C” Vendor Health Inspections
Pushcart/ Truck Decal ID Location
AA05085 1293 Broadway, New York. NY
AA05085 101 West 35th Street, New York. NY
AA07191 115 Central Park West, New York. NY
AA00076 101 West 35th Street, New York, NY
AA08215 497 Clermont Ave, Brooklyn, NY
AA05261 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, N
AA00871 107-19 71st Avenue, Queens, NY
The ten most common food safety-related violations issued in 2016:
 Potentially Hazardous Foods Held Above 41°F—452
 Effective Hair Restraint—72
 Potentially Hazardous Foods At Improper Temperatures—327
 Equipment Not Clean; Improperly Maintained—202
 Failure To Provide/Use Thermometers As Required—183
 Food Protection (Food Not Protected)—148
 Handwashing Facility: Soap/Hand Drying Device—94
 Handwashing Facilities Not Provided/Obstructed—77
 Food: Adulterated/Contaminated—72
 Failure To Maintain Personal Hygiene—66

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