by Alexa Watts.
College students might not be the only ones worried about their grades. Food-truck vendors may soon be subject to a health letter grade system similar to ones that restaurants have, if a Queens congressman gets his way.
State Senator Jose Peralta introduced a bill two weeks ago which would require food trucks to display letter grades they receive from the health department on the front of their trucks for consumers to view. Although the bill has yet to be voted on, Peralta has the support of many New York City residents.
Andrew Moame sophomore at City College was waiting on line at one of the many food trucks around the school and agreed with the idea of graded food trucks. “I could understand; I think the difference between trucks and restaurants is that food trucks kind of have a reputation for being dirty,” says Moame. “But I would be totally more inclined to go to an “A” truck vs. a “B” food truck.”
According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, truck operators must follow a set of guidelines in accordance health and safety standards. For instance, food handlers are required to wear gloves when handling ready to eat food and must have hot and cold running water and water-proof surfaces.
However, CNN reported that, currently only 20 of the health department’s 140 food inspectors are assigned to food trucks. This would make it very difficult for the city to implement a mass grading system for all the food trucks around New York City.
By and large, vendors around the City College seem supportive of the legislation. Mohammad Saied owns a food truck on the corner of Convent Avenue and St. Nicholas, and has been in the food vending business for nine years. “This is even better for the business,” says Saied. “I used to work in a restaurant a long time ago and I know, for sure, that we clean our carts even better than any restaurant. If were graded today I would get an A absolutely!”
Steve Martinez a sophomore at City College always waits on the long line at the Halal food truck and Amsterdam Avenue, even when its freezing. “If this food truck got a C it would definitely sketch me out,” Martinez says. “But I would probably still eat it because if the food is good then the food is good.”