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.

According to a report in the New York Post, food carts have been cited for 2,571 violations this year.

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…

Comments (8)
  1. bullett says:

    I mean, like really, did anyone expect these cart vendors to score a 100? I think not. By the way, where’s Montone? He needs to do a street survey on some of these vendors, and air opinions that are vented by our outspoken New Yorkers.

  2. Jay Walker says:

    My favorite illegal vendor thing I see day after day is a regular unmarked car delivering Propane gas containers to the guys on 6th avenue (nyc) ,an explosion waiting to happen ,hopefully not in our Tunnels and yes they are Mid -Easterners. who don’t care about propane gas transportation regulations.

  3. Hutu Spyer says:

    NW corner in Manhattan of Broadway & 28th street usually only the
    young Africans hucksters & their clients eat from ,this dirty cart ,the owner slices meat and takes customer’s money with the same dirty plastic glove on all day this cart is near the R/N train station and has been doing business for years there ,when the meat cart is picked up at night the sidewalk is one big slippery grease stain,yet the guy leaves his garbage bags on the corner (illegal)and opens up everyday at
    around 11am .why does this spot stay so filthy from this one cart year after year? A letter grading would not matter to the customers buying bootleg drugs
    on this corner right under the NYPD CCTV ,this will never change in this spot
    near the trendy Ace Hotel at that.

  4. jaypee says:

    I won’t eat from them because most of them are muslims and I do not trust them.
    Never mind they are unsanitary . They could poison dozens of people who would know

  5. Brian says:

    One problem with food carts is the problem of the preparer using the bathroom and then washing his hands afterwords.

    Many years ago, I passed by one of those hot dog stands, and the guy was actually urinating.

  6. scott feingoldstein says:

    another story designed to help put small businesses out of business……….hey CBS, your friends in the corporate world have done enough damage to small business owners in manhattan, no need to add insult to injury….


  7. C Thomas says:

    I never eat from those things, especially the hot dog ones. They may never change the water. And if they do they may drain but iimproperly clean them. Germs could be building condos in those, and rats doing hat dances on the grills at night where they are stored.

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