Department of Health Bans Street Vendors From Selling Seafood

Tilapia @ the Kwik Meal Cart, Midtown
If this is wrong, than I don’t want to be right…

I’m all for the Department of Health making sure our food is safe to eat, but this is ridiculous!  Apparently at the end of last year, the Department of Health adopted a resolution that rewrote many parts of the health code as it pertains to street vendors.  It takes effect January 1st of this year, and if enforced it’s going to have a huge effect on Midtown Lunch’ing.  Namely, no more fish, shellfish, or seafood from street vendors.  Here it is direct from the newly rewritten Article 89:

§89.19 f(2) Fish. No fish, shellfish, or any food consisting of or made with an aquatic animal, as defined in Article 81, shall be prepared, stored, held for service or sold from a mobile food vending unit.

The full ramifications of this are just sinking into my brain right now, and it’s easy to joke about the “safety” of eating seafood from a truck. But think about all the great seafood options being offered right now from carts and trucks in Midtown alone… the fried cod from the Schnitzel Truck, Tianbula from the NYC Cravings Truck, and the always delicious salmon and tilapia served by Kwik Meal (shown above.) And worst of all, what the hell is Kim’s Aunt Kitchen Cart going to sell?! This must be some kind of a bad dream.

And that’s not all.

It also goes on to create new rules regarding the proper refrigeration of fruits and vegetables, that could put potentially put the smoothie vendors out of business.

§89.19 f(3) Processed fruits and vegetables. Mobile food vending units in which sliced, peeled or processed fruits and vegetables are prepared, stored, held for service or sold shall have adequate refrigeration at all times, and shall during a pre-permit inspection. Mobile food vending units only authorized to sell whole fresh pre-packaged fruits and vegetable may not sell or hold for service sliced, peeled or processed fruits and vegetables and as such refrigeration for such units is not required..

It’s kind of sad when laws meant to provide “better” food, end up having the opposite effect.  The new rules take effect on January 1st, but I haven’t talked to any of the vendors to find out what they are going to do…


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