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L.A. food trucks may get letter grades

September 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's the first day of business for the No Jodas Cuban Kitchen.After catering to the Hollywood lunch crowd early Monday, the food truck dished out its gourmet selections in Los Feliz.

But even though the kitchen is on wheels, owner Rob Samuelson said his truck must abide by the same rules as brick and mortar restaurants.

"We have to meet a certain specification that the county says what can and what can't be on the truck," Samuelson said.

Which is why Samuelson thinks a new letter grading system for full-service food trucks is a good idea. There are about 6,000 food trucks operating in Los Angeles County.

"I think it's great," Samuelson said. "I think it will allow us to have accountability like the public sees what everybody else is already having to do in other restaurants around town."

The new ordinance introduced by the county Department of Public Health will require trucks to post a letter A, B or C grade on their windows.

Each grade is earned after inspections twice a year.

"If it can help make people healthy and prevent disease, it would be good for everybody," said Ben Nabati of Sherman Oaks.

Truck operators will also have to submit routes and schedules so health inspectors can make surprise visits.

Samuelson said most trucks go to the same locations, but others just follow the crowds.

For the foodies who have made a habit out of visiting the gourmet trucks, some fear the ordinance could make or break their experience.

"I think it would scare a lot of people out of the competition," said Patrick Mannion of Los Feliz. "Then you would only find people that can afford to pay top dollar in their business, trying to get their letter grade up."

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