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Food Trucks ABC: Letter Grades Coming ~ Los Angeles

One of our favorite publications, Food Safety News, has the scoop on last night's decision to add letter grades for LA's flotilla of food trucks:

Los Angeles' fleet of over 9,000 food trucks, a niche culinary fad gone mainstream in cities across the U.S., will soon be subject to the same food safety rules as restaurants in Los Angeles County.

That means rogue food trucks will have to submit to posting their food safety letter grades. Yesterday, the New York Times called the move perhaps the "ultimate sign that this faddiest of food fads is going mainstream."

According to the Times, food trucks in LA may soon also have to file route maps with the county health department, ensuring that health inspectors won't have to check Twitter or Facebook to find the street vendors, who typically retain a level of mystery by sharing their whereabouts via social media.

"As with restaurants, health inspectors will be empowered to shut down a truck that scores less than a C for not enough attention to basic safety and food hygiene practices -- for example, dirty counters, food left out, unwashed hands," according to the Times' Adam Nagourney.

It sounds like a new level of bureaucracy that may stifle some of the fly-by-night attitude of some of the city's upstart mobile food vendors, but also that consumers may welcome the added scrutiny. It's amazing how thousands of taco trucks can operate for decades in the city with little or no mainstream interest, but when a few dozen "new age" trucks come on the scene, the city gets moving.

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