Senator Peralta & IDC issues report on dirtiest pushcarts in New York City, illustrating need for grading restaurants-on-wheels

Senate takes up Peralta’s bill today on letter grading for pushcarts & food trucks  

Albany, NY — As the New York State Senate readies to vote on a bill sponsored by Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens) to assign letter grades to pushcarts and food trucks, the Senator and members of the Independent Democratic Conference issued a report, Grades-on-the-go: An Inside Look into the Dirtiest Pushcarts & Food Trucks in New York City,” that analyzed inspection data from 2016.

“A vast majority of street vendors support a letter grading system, since it brings increased legitimacy to their businesses. With this more transparent system in place, consumers will have fewer worries about their food being unsafe when they pick up a falafel, a hot dog or a taco on the go. This investigation illustrates the need for transparency,” said Senator Peralta

The restaurants-on-wheels are inspected by New York City’s Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, but the inspections are not made public. Senator Peralta’s legislation would assign letter grades to pushcarts and food trucks just like restaurants and make it easier for DOHMH to obtain locations for inspections.

Analysts found the six dirtiest carts in the city where inspectors issued violations that could have resulted in a “C.”

Letter “C” Vendor Health Inspections

 

Pushcart/ Truck Decal ID

Location

Score

Letter Grade

AA05085

1293 Broadway, New York. NY

52

C

AA05085

101 West 35th Street, New York. NY

47

C

AA07191

115 Central Park West, New York. NY

39

C

AA00076

101 West 35th Street, New York, NY

34

C

AA00076

101 West 35th street, New York, NY

32

C

AA08215

497 Clermont Ave, Brooklyn, NY

32

C

AA05261

10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY

30

C

AA00871

107-19 71st Avenue, Queens, NY

33

C

 The ten most common food safety related violations issued in 2016
 

Type of Violation

Violations Issued in 2016

POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS FOODS HELD ABOVE 41°F

452

EFFECTIVE HAIR RESTRAINT

372

POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS FOODS AT IMPROPER TEMPERATURES

327

EQUIPMENT NOT CLEAN; IMPROPERLY MAINTAINED

202

FAILURE TO PROVIDE/USE THERMOMETERS AS REQUIRED

183

FOOD PROTECTION (FOOD NOT PROTECTED)

148

HANDWASHING FACILITY: SOAP/HAND DRYING DEVICE

94

HANDWASHING FACILITIES NOT PROVIDED/OBSTRUCTED

77

FOOD: ADULTERATED/CONTAMINATED

72

FAILURE TO MAINTAIN PERSONAL HYGIENE

66

 Within the five boroughs, Manhattan has the largest concentration of pushcarts and food trucks. The report also found that it had the highest rate of violations per inspection, with 1.17. 

 

Borough

Violations Per Inspections

Manhattan

1.17

Brooklyn

1.11

Queens

1.09

Staten Island

1.00

Bronx

0.82

 

To improve the sanitary conditions of these trucks and to provide consumers with easy access to information on the cleanliness of these establishments, Senator Peralta’s legislation would require that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene convert the existing health inspections into the letter grade equivalent.

As a conference, the IDC has long advocated for greater transparency in the conditions of the food that New Yorkers eat. Senator Klein worked on the original letter grading system for restaurants in New York City, and more recently on the posting of cafeteria conditions for schools.

 The bill was hailed by the industry.

“At the New York Food Truck Association (NYFTA), we think food trucks should be held to the same food safety regulations as brick-and-mortar restaurants, not only including letter grades, but also addressing the onerous food safety permitting process for food truck employees,” said Ben Goldberg, Founder and CEO New York Truck Association.