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Letter grades would 'legitimize' lunch trucks

September 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
You can get Philly cheesesteak, Korean barbecue or the traditional tacos in the burgeoning food truck scene on the streets of Southern California. The trucks are inspected by the Los Angeles County Department of Health. But a new proposal suggests they get the same letter grade system restaurants use.

said Dr. Jonathan Fielding of the Health Department.

At a meeting Tuesday of the Asociacion de Loncheros, the lunch truck association, members said they want they want to be held to the same standards as restaurants.

said Alfredo Magallanes, an association member.

If approved, it would affect about 10,000 lunch trucks. Those that don't comply could be shut down.

Some truck owners worry this could put them out of business. Sacrosanto Munjaraz said complying with new rules could cost him up to $30,000. But Craig Schrader, one of the owners of South Philly Experience, said the new system will make it better for everyone. "I think it's a great thing," Schrader said. The Board of Supervisors postponed discussing the issue for a week. If approved, the new ordinance could go into effect within 30 days.

"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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