That street hot dog could soon come with a grade of A, B or C along with the mustard and sauerkraut.
The City Council Health Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill requiring the Health Department to post sanitary grades for food carts, just like it does for restaurants.
Street food vendors already get inspected and are subject to fines. But unlike eateries, they don’t have to display the results.
“Everyone who handles food should be subject to the same rules,” said City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Queens), the bill’s sponsor. “People have a right to know if the [eating] conditions are really sanitary.”
Koslowitz said she sponsored the bill earlier this year after noticing street vendors in her Forest Hills neighborhood staying open past midnight, and wondering about their bathroom habits considering nearby restaurants with restrooms close earlier.
“If they relieve themselves, do they wash their hands?” she said. “It’s something the public has a right to know.”
Both Koslowitz and Councilman Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), the Health Committee chairman, said there’s been no public opposition to the bill — even from vendors — and expect it to be easily approved by the Council.
Matthew Shapiro, a staff attorney with Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, said the group supports the grades.
“The vendors are proud of the food they serve and they want to be able to show the public that they can provide the same quality of food as restaurants,” he said.
Abdelalim Abdelbaky, who runs a food cart by the World Trade Center, said he “loves” the plan.
“It’s great for my business because I expect to get an A, and customers will want to buy from me because I got the A,” said Abdelbaky, who made headlines two years ago for firing an employee who jacked up the price of a $2 hot dog to $30 for unwary tourists without his knowledge.
The new bill will take effect 270 days after it is signed into law.
In 2015, state legislators in Albany failed trying to pass a bill creating a commission overseeing food carts, which would have been expected to launch a similar letter-grade system for the Big Apple.
Credit: NY Post