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City Council considers letter grades for NYC food carts

A woman eats her lunch purchased from a

A woman eats her lunch purchased from a food cart in New York on March 24, 2015. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images / JEWEL SAMAD

New York City food carts and food trucks would be required to post letter grades similar to the city’s current A-to-F ratings for restaurants, under a measure being considered by the city council.

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Queens), the sponsor of the measure, said the need for mobile food vendors to disclose their health inspection ratings “is a health problem that has to be addressed now.”

“We have people in this city who depend on the vendors for their luncheon. . . . I think they have the right to know the cleanliness of that vendor,” Koslowitz said during Wednesday’s city council health committee hearing.

Her proposal was part of a package of bills discussed Wednesday aimed at increasing consumer access to food safety reports. Another measure, proposed by Councilman Daniel Dromm, also a Queens Democrat, would require public schools to post their cafeteria inspection reports online for parents and students to review.

“All New Yorkers should feel confident that their food is safe when they go out to eat, whether it’s at a food truck or a brick and mortar restaurant,” said Councilman Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), the chairman of the health committee. “It is the city’s job to enforce proper rules to ensure the safety.”

Deputy Health Commissioner Corinne Schiff said the department supported Koslowitz’s proposal, but recommended the city council incorporate the bill into other proposals being weighed that would increase the number of food vendor permits the city issues annually.

“This is an idea the department has contemplated in the past and we agree there should be more transparency about our mobile food vending inspections,” Schiff said.

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