Making the Grade: NYC Food Trucks and Carts

February 6, 2019
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NEW YORK CITY, NY – The city Department of Health just issued letter grades to carts and food trucks in New York City. For some, this was the first grades they’ve received. Apparently, only a couple dozen carts and trucks currently have grades. In fact, officials believe that it might take two years before they all have ratings.

This past fall, the health department published the final rules for this new grading program. This introduced a type of scoring system. And, it is actually similar to the one used to inspect restaurants. Now, these carts and trucks have to meet similar standards. Business owners will received points leading to grades – corresponding to either A, B, or C.

All food vendors of this kind require inspections. Then, the letter grade is displayed as a permit decal right on the cart or truck. Additionally, if vendors have trouble understanding the new policies and grading system criteria, they can look at the self-inspection worksheet the health department plans to distribute. This way, vendors can monitor the food safety of their businesses and check what might need to be fixed before receiving official grades. In fact, the department also plans to host several free workshops about the new grading program.

Will Food Trucks Get an A, B, or C?

As Dr. Oxiris Barbot, Health Commissioner, stated: “New Yorkers told us that they love our restaurant grading program, and it only made sense, thanks to Council Member Koslowitz, to extend it to food carts and trucks. Now customers will be able to see, before deciding to eat at a food cart, how it performed at its health inspection.”

Many New Yorkers base their dining choices off the letter grades provided by the health department. And, since the food truck industry is rapidly growing, it only makes sense for these mobile restaurants to have the same expectations. So, the change for food trucks and carts should help residents choose food based on safety.

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