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Street Food Carts Will Soon Have Health Letter Grades [Update]

The Health Department has 270 days to put the law into effect

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The City Council Health Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of a bill requiring street food carts and trucks to post letter grades, which New York City restaurants have been doing for years. Today, the vote goes to the full City Council for approval. If passed, the Health Department will have 270 days to put it into effect. Update: The bill passed, meaning the Health Department has 270 days to put the law into effect.

This bill, number 1456 sponsored by Queens City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, has been a long time coming. It would add street food carts and trucks into legislation already passed requiring restaurants to post inspection results and for the Health Department to translate its already-regular inspections of food carts into grades.

Several groups and vendors have spoken in favor of the bill, including the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center and the New York Food Truck Association. With no known opposition, the bill is expected to pass.

It’s a timely vote, as a new report from state Senate Independent Democratic Conference found that Manhattan food carts have the most violations in the city. In 2016, there were 5,044 violations at the 4,319 food carts and trucks inspected in Manhattan. Out of 2,752 inspections in the other boroughs combined, there were 2,817 violations issued (1,212 in Queens, 982 in Brooklyn, 600 in the Bronx, and 23 in Staten Island).

This city council bill is separate from a similar bill in the state Senate, sponsored by Queens Senator Jose Peralta, which has the support of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. That bill also passed in the Senate yesterday 57 to 5, but is still being reviewed by the New York State Assembly.

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