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…



  • What the fuck?!?

  • does this mean no more lettuce and tomatoes with my lamb/chicken over rice?

  • There goes the best fried fish sandwich.

  • Mamacita, you’re killing me! hahaha but seriously? What of the fried fishes, people??? Unfair.

  • I wouldn’t eat fish from a New Yawk City street cart if I were starving.

    BUT, I sure as hell hate to see a bunch of semi-literate government bureaucrats making up rules to protect hungry Midtowners from themselves.

    Carry on. You have every right to be pissed.

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    I think this is an excellent step in the right direction to adequate food safety at food vendors. What boggles my mind is why the DOH does not require refrigeration for raw meat yet does for cut fruit???

  • Zach are you planning a protest, a petition? Is there anything we can do?

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    This is fishy. A ban seems only appropriate when it is impossible to do something safely. Things that seem appropriate to ban include: roadkill sushi, fermented meat shakes, and cement crusted chicken. Why not study the issue and come up with reasonable guidelines for serving fish at carts?

    Same for the fruit rule. Is there some real study that showed that fruit stored simply on ice is less safe than fruit in the fridge? Is there a study that showed that refrigeration is the ONLY way to keep fruit safe?

    Makes me wish I had gotten that law degree!

  • No more delicious lobster rolls at the Brooklyn Flea 8(

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    Is anyone actually interesting is doing a real live protest? I would be. Where is most effective is another question. Here?

    New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

    125 Worth Street, CN 33
    New York, NY 10013

  • Lobster Rolls will stay. The law specifically applies to a vending unit with wheels. We have none, though we were considering it! From the new regs:

    A mobile food vending unit shall not mean a stand or a

    everyone follow us at twitter @redhooklobster

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