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LA food trucks: 40 percent not inspected

Only 60 percent of food trucks in Los Angeles county are routinely checked by inspectors.
April 8, 2014 8:59:20 PM PDT
About 40 percent of food trucks in Los Angeles County have not been inspected, according to health officials.

Health officials are able to routinely check 60 percent of permitted food trucks in the county, but said it's difficult to chase down the rest to make unannounced checks. Even more go without scrutiny, if health officials include independent operators that don't have a license.

"There are quite a few others that are not permitted and we encounter them on a daily basis," said Angelo Bellomo, director of environmental health at the county health department.

That means as many as 2,000 truck and street vendors are operating without regular inspections.

Jackie Romero, a Los Angeles resident, said she won't eat a food truck without a recommendation.

"It's really tough nowadays to go to any truck because you don't know if they are sanitary or not," Romero said.

Health officials said the problem is the trucks are mobile, making it difficult to find trucks and conduct surprise inspections.

The health department is adapting new software that will tell inspectors instantly in the field if a spotted truck has not been inspected. It's also considering the installation of devices to track each truck.

Eventually, the health department hopes to post the inspection report of every permitted truck online, so consumers can check for the grade instantly on a mobile device.

Some truck operators said the innovations will even the playing field.

"Everything is always up to par on my end, so I am not worried that. I would encourage anything," said Charles Shepler with the Holy Aioli truck.

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