New York Is Officially In the Midst Of A Food Truck Crackdown


  • Photo via Free Williamsburg

Food trucks may be the avatar that represents the Brooklyn food scene to the rest of the world (and a faster, looser way for start-up food companies to launch themselves), but they’re still selling food to the public in exchange for money, and thus are beholden to a whole slough of rules and regulations. As of this week, the Health Department is cracking down on this.

The new regulations, which were proposed last summer and just made official, are really pretty reasonable. Among other things, it’s now officially a requirement that trucks dealing with raw meat have to have a sink on-site (you know, for hand-washing). On the more mundane end, operators will have to make sure that the trucks are logged in and out of their storage facilities with exact dates and times. Fair enough.

What might bother food truck die-hards, though, are potential regulations just proposed by City Councilman Dan Garodnick, who’s hoping to lock food trucks into designated spaces. This is actually great, if, like me, you like knowing exactly what your lunch options are at all times and don’t really enjoy following businesses on Twitter. It’s not so great, most likely, for a business model that’s based in large part on its flexibility, and it seems pretty inevitable that Garodnick will be met with more than a little bit of industry resistance on this. Still, the hand-washing thing seems pretty okay.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


  1. Anyone serving food should handle it with the same care ANY professional would. You are obligated to know temperatures and cleanliness of the food you work with. The Health Department enforces you to take something of an 8-10 hour class covering these basics, though most of the people there have no idea about it and walk out not knowing anything since they cheat off each other to pass a 20 question test that leads to a license to work a food cart or truck.
    The difference in licensing grade levels. Processing or non- processing, you can cook or you can boil water (ex. hot dog with pretzel cart).
    I know this because my family owned and has ran food carts since 1978 up on Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn, dominated the Fulton street area in the 80s and early 90s and still have some carts in Brooklyn.
    Buy from who you think you can trust is handling food and themselves cleanly. Personally I’m picky about where I buy off the street because I see how some people clean their carts at the end of the day (they don’t!) and how they handle their food (like crap).
    Trucks have refrigerators and large generators working that can power a refrigerator. NO CART has refrigerators,just compartments that can keep food at a certain temperature with ice.
    It is not safe to trust a 24hr food cart!
    when are they cleaning if they are there all the time?
    when and where are they storing their food if they don’t have the proper equipment on hand to safely store the food for extended periods of time?
    Would you trust someone to serve you if they are working for a business that doesn’t bother to take the time out to clean or safely store the food?


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