Though the curbside cuisine that I’ve taste-tested and written about thus far has all been on the more gourmet end of the food truck spectrum, there are still some mobile food vendors out there that fit the roach coach stereotype of years past. It is because of food trucks’ humble beginnings as self-regulated taco trucks and hot dog carts that some people remain skeptical about ordering a meal from anything on wheels. But this Tuesday, all of that is likely to change.
On Oct. 12, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a proposal to expand the same letter grading system that has been used to inspect restaurants in the county since 1998 to food trucks as well—and the CEO of the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association said he believes it will be passed 100 percent. For the trucks, it will simply mean further confirmation of their validity as part of the Los Angeles food scene, and for patrons, it will mean no more skepticism. The grading system would apply not only to actual trucks, but all mobile food vendors, including most hot dog, ice cream and fruit carts.
If passed, the law will require mobile vendors to post the letter grade they were given during their most recent inspection in their window or on the cart somewhere, just as the restaurants do. This way, when a person is looking to get some lunch on the street, there will be no more guessing whether or not it is safe. And if there is no letter grade, it will be a red flag that the vendor is illegal and probably not a good dining choice. For the most part, today’s food truck owners have nothing to worry about—and many of them are looking forward to receiving a grade during their health inspections.
“I would love to have people see how clean my truck is,” said Natasha Case, co-founder of the mobile ice cream company Cool Haus.
While many of the more modern mobile food vendors, like the Cool Haus truck, that have popped up in the past year or two will not be affected by the instatement of a letter grading system, as they already undergo regular inspections, some of the more traditional, long-standing taco trucks could be in trouble. But hey, even if the proposal is passed Tuesday, it will likely not go into effect for at least a few months, so they’ve still got a little time to dole out tacos to their faithful followers.