Food carts to receive letter grades like NYC restaurants

NEW YORK  — Food carts and trucks will soon receive letter grades similar to the grades given to city restaurants, New York City health officials say.

Food carts will be graded on food safety and will receive a corresponding alphabetical score of A, B or C — with "A'' being the highest score. Officials say they will also attach a GPS tracking device to carts to keep track of them.

All 5,500 food carts will have be granted letter grades within two years with roll out beginning in December.

“Letter grades on food carts and trucks will help New Yorkers see how these businesses fared on their latest inspection, right when they want to place an order,” said acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Just as diners appreciate letter grading in restaurants, we expect this program to be popular among customers of food carts and trucks.”

The legal director of the Street Vendor Project is saying the group vehemently opposes the GPS tracking system—because it fears it could be used to target illegal immigrants. The health department says data collected will only be accessible to DOH staff, the agency said in a preemptive move to head off criticism.

Vendors are already inspected and fined, but customers aren't able to see the results. Soon, it will be plain as day and easy to use that grade to make a choice.

“I believe that the customers who buy food from a street vendor deserve to have the same ability to make an informed decision as do patrons of restaurants,” said city councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, who was the prime sponsor of the bill that led to the new law.
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