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County delays vote on food-truck health grades

Food trucks in L.A. County may be required to display a letter grade, just like regular restaurants.

September 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors delayed a vote Tuesday on an ordinance for food trucks to display health grades.The L.A. County Board of Supervisors was set to consider a new law Tuesday that would expand the restaurant grading system to the about 6,000 mobile food trucks that operate locally.

Debate on the motion was postponed while the county public health department looks into the issue.

The county health department says ensuring food truck safety is important as their popularity grows.

The plan is to raise the health standards for the popular rolling restaurants and require them to display a letter grade, just like regular restaurants.

Restaurants have to post up grades showing how they scored on their food safety and quality exam. The county health department said the food trucks should to do the same thing to protect consumers.

The ordinance would require about 6,000 trucks to undergo two graded inspections and one certification inspection per year. A truck that scores below a "C," or 70 percent, will have to be shut down.

The trucks, known as mobile food facilities, will also have to disclose their routes so that inspectors would be able to find them more easily and do random checks.

The county received complaints from area chambers of commerce. Some restaurant owners complained the trucks are cutting into their businesses.

Some truck owners said the grading system is just another attempt to drive them out of business.

The L.A. County Dept. of Health said there currently is no incentive for mobile food facilities to pay attention to food safety and hygiene.

The food services vehicle permit fees may go up as a result of covering the cost of expanding the letter grade system of inspections.

If the county approves the ordinance, it will go into effect in October.

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