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Making the Grade: Food Trucks Under Scrutiny

13 Oct


Photograph: Mean Red Productions


A couple of weeks ago I responded to Jonathan Gold’s post on why Food Trucks are worth saving. But the battle continues. Today the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted in favor issuing food trucks letter grades based on health inspections.

On one hand, this benefits the food truck industry. In Adam Nagourney’s article, Matt Geller, vice president of the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association, explains that receiving the same treatment as restaurants “brings more legitimacy to an industry that is fairly new in the mainstream.” And let’s face it, enforcing health regulations will make us all feel a little more at ease–even us thrill-seekers.

But how will food trucks fare? With limited space for proper food handling and supply stocking, it would be hard for food trucks to make the grade against the current standards. So what should we do? One proposal is to adjust the grading criteria to account for the limitations that come with operating a food truck.

But even this introduces a new issue: to what extent can we adjust the grading criteria? Too many or too few adjustments will sway the system in favor of either party. One way to check the balance between the different grading criteria might be to compare the grades received by restaurants that also have operating food trucks. If both receive similar scores, then the criteria has been well-adjusted. If not, then further adjustments are necessary.

Hopefully when letter grades start displaying in food truck windows, consumers won’t stray away from “B” grade trucks. After all, even top-notch restaurants such as Bouchon, barely make the “A” grade. Still dubious? Look up the scores for your favorite restaurants. You’ll be surprised at how many barely make the “A” grade.


P.S. – Make your opinion heard here!