Los Angeles’ fleet of over 9,000 food trucks, a niche culinary fad gone mainstream in cities across the U.S., will soon be subject to the same food safety rules as restaurants in Los Angeles County.
That means rogue food trucks will have to submit to posting their food safety letter grades. Yesterday, the New York Times called the move perhaps the “ultimate sign that this faddiest of food fads is going mainstream.”
According to the Times, food trucks in LA may soon also have to file route maps with the county health department, ensuring that health inspectors won’t have to check Twitter or Facebook to find the street vendors, who typically retain a level of mystery by sharing their whereabouts via social media.
“As with restaurants, health inspectors will be empowered to shut down a truck that scores less than a C for not enough attention to basic safety and food hygiene practices — for example, dirty counters, food left out, unwashed hands,” according to the Times’ Adam Nagourney.
“For the skeptical lunch-goer, proposed monitoring of these trucks may stifle concern over reputations of greasy, questionably sourced food items,” said Sarah Damian, a fellow for the Government Accountability Project on the group’s new Food Integrity blog yesterday. “In fact, even established retailers and gourmet chefs are going mobile and see the potential boost for business in positive letter grading.”
As GAP noted yesterday, the Los Angeles County letter grading system, which was put into place over a decade ago, has significantly decreased the number of hospitalizations linked to restaurant food poisoning.