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Bill proposes to ban food trucks from schools during open hours

February 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Some California food truck owners are upset as one state lawmaker tries to keep them away from schools.

In an effort to fight obesity, California public schools have spent the past few years banning junk food on campuses and bringing in healthier choices for kids as mandated by national standards.

But school administrators say a new food trend is undermining their efforts: mobile food trucks. Some districts are appalled they pull right up next to a school and sell food that students typically can't get on campus.

"We serve fruits and vegetables every single day. We're mandated to," said Rene Yamashiro, Roseville Food Services director. "We have limits on how much fat our meals can have, how much sodium, how much sugar." Yamashiro is also the California School Nutrition Association president.

"When, there's a food truck right outside the school, they do not have to follow any of these national standards," said Yamashiro.

State Assemblyman Bill Monning (D-Carmel) just introduced a bill that would ban food trucks from parking within 1,500 feet of a school between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Some cities already have a similar ban in place.

That has food vendors upset because they don't all sell bad food. They also think it's unfair considering many schools are right by fast-food restaurants and convenience stores.

"You have a McDonald's right next to the high school I went to, a donut shop. What's healthier? A Drewski's sandwich. Everything's made from scratch," said Andrew Blaskovich, Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen. "Everything we do is made that day. Nothing is processed or frozen."

School administrators also worry about student safety with trucks vying for business in areas with heavy traffic.

Teenagers we spoke with don't agree with the food truck ban.

"Going to the extent of banning food trucks would just be extensive because if you want junk food, you can be able to get it," said Kameron Sarhadi, a high school senior from Mountain View.

The Southern California Mobile Food Vendor's Association says they help schools with fundraisers, and they wonder what this legislation would mean for those efforts.