40 percent of LA food trucks and carts unchecked by health inspectors

Apr 8, 2014

The ‘Pyongyang Express’ food truck operator Bob Gottlieb takes an order from a customer outside an office building in Los Angeles where the truck is parked for lunch business July 16, 2010. ; Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Of the roughly 3,200 food trucks and carts wheeling meals around Los Angeles County, about 40 percent have never been inspected by the Department of Public Health–and the rest are checked less frequently than guidelines require, according to a Los Angeles Times report.  

Those troubling figures come from Angelo Bellomo, the Department’s director of environmental health, who oversees restaurant and food truck inspections. “This is an area that needs improvement,” Bellomo told the Times.

Letter grades for food trucks were first introduced in 2011, and county health guidelines require two annual field inspections. This hasn’t happened—and consumers cannot review health inspection information for many rolling restaurants. Bellomo told the Times that one of the main reasons food trucks and carts go unchecked is because they can be difficult to locate for surprise inspections. 

Fifteen field inspectors and two supervisors with the Department of Public Health are responsible for food service inspection in L.A. County. Trucks and carts that receive complaints are highest priority.   

Would you have thought inspection rates for food trucks were this low? Are you willing to take your chances with food trucks? How should consumers get safety information about trucks and carts? Should there be more field inspectors monitoring L.A.’s mobile eateries?


Matt Geller, Co-Founder & CEO, Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association

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