NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mobile food carts are just like restaurants in many ways.
Both serve food, and both are inspected by the Health Department. However, unlike restaurants, vendors don’t get a report card to display on their carts.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Chew On This
The worst offender was found at a food cart on the corner of West 41st Street and Seventh Avenue which, in just four months, had racked up 16 violations, according to the report.
Health Department inspections have reportedly found vendors not washing their hands after using the bathroom, coughing or sneezing. Seven vendors in Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan were caught with live vermin or animals in their food preparation or storage areas.
Some New Yorkers are not surprised by the department’s findings.
Tom Frascatore told 1010 WINS’ reporter Steve Sandberg he fell victim to a kabob.
“I had eaten from a Midtown cart and gotten sick. I ate some bad chicken, chicken on a stick in Times Square…got sick,” Frascatore said. “I was sick for a couple weeks, so now I really only buy coffee…something that’s been boiled and make sure it’s really hot. If it’s not hot, I don’t go back to the cart.”
“My cousin ended up in the hospital, he went to some sort of street cart and he got sick,” another man said. “He had something wrong with his stomach and they found rat hair in his stomach.”
Some are calling for a grading system for vendors similar to that of restaurants.
“If a cup of coffee could kill me then I think they should have the ABC thing just like restaurants because it won’t do no harm unless they know that they’re doing something wrong,” one man said.
According to the Health Department, mobile food carts undergo similar inspections as restaurants but there are “critical differences” between the two making grading carts “impractical.”
The department states that since carts are mobile it’s not easy to make regular re-inspections as done at restaurants.
The department is working on building a new data system, including using handheld computers for field inspections which will be launched within the next two years.
If you can still stomach it, here’s our list of the best street meat in New York City.
Do you trust food carts? Will this report stop you from eating street meat? Let us know below…