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D.O.H. Cracks Down on Black Market Food Cart Permits

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NYC's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is sticking it to the black market for food cart permits. The Wall Street Journal reports on a list of new, stricter regulations that will affect many of the city's mobile food vendors. One of the new rules includes limiting the size of carts to five feet wide by 10 feet long, posing a very real issue for those with larger proportions. Another regulation would require permit holders to physically appear for bi-yearly inspections. This move is meant to curtail the illegal resale of black market two-year permits. While city permits cost $200 and are scare and hard to obtain, the resold permits are being doled out for $20,000 each.

The dilemma is explained as such, "The 3,100 year-round permits and 1,000 seasonal permits sold by the city don’t meet the growing demand, so some of the lucky few are illegally handing over their permits for steep sums." Vendors also say that legally obtaining a food cart or truck permit in one’s own name could take over a decade, with 2,080 currently on the wait list for a two-year permit. There is a belief that food carts should have to abide by stricter rules, more similar to those of restaurants as they too are big businesses. The city is accepting comments through July 19 about the newly proposed regulations. Final decisions should be reached this fall.
· City Bites into Carts [WSJ]
· Inside the Black Market for Food Carts [WSJ]
· The Ugly Side of Food Vendor Black Markets [~ENY~]
[Michael Sporn Animation]

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