DOH Says Seafood Ban Was “Unintentional”

Apparently yelling loud does get the Department of Health’s attention! A DOH spokesperson emailed Gothamist to claim the whole thing was a misunderstanding:

“The Health Department currently prohibits, and will continue to prohibit the sale of raw shellfish from a mobile food cart. However, the wording in the recent amendments to the Health Code effectively prohibit the sale of all seafood, raw and cooked, and that was unintentional. The Health Department intends to fix this, and will not enforce this amendment as written.

That’s a huge relief! Now how about the smoothie vendors? Do they all need to outfit their carts with refrigerators, or was that unintentional as well?


  • So, does this mean we still won’t be able to buy ceviche from random sidewalk coolers?

  • I dont see how something like that could be unintentional sounds like a a bunch of bullshit to me.

  • Wow that’s pretty… “Hi we are stupid a-holes who don’t know what we’re doing, are surprised when people pay attention to us and now have to take our foot out of our mouth”. …..

  • I couldn’t agree more, Yvo.

    I wonder if backpedaling is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s new health initiative?

  • Well done! Midtown Lunch gets action!

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    well my dream of opening a sushi cart is still dead in the water.

  • Todays poor wording is tomorrows unenforced law. The wording should be changed.

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    Is it raw SHELLFISH or raw SEAFOOD? The statement in the NY Times says raw seafood (which would include ceviche)…

    What is currently prohibited?

  • I thought ceviche was cooked by the acids. Or that doesn’t count as cooked at all?

  • Hungry is correct. Ceviche is cooked in the acids of vinegar or lime/lemons. It’s not technically raw once served.

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    Not sure why the Times singled out ceviche as “raw seafood” in the article.

  • Damara, you’re not the only one. Friends of mine are always wondering how the Times gets away with such bad journalism from the NYC correspondents.

  • I’m pretty sure the reference is to “raw” as in “uncooked” as in “not heated to a high temperature for sufficiently long to kill certain bacteria.” Seafood reacting with some acids becomes denatured, more akin to pickling than “cooking.” So it’s apparently not the equivalent of “cooked” or “not raw” from the legal perspective.

  • This is just another example of how certain underfunded government departments make mistakes but don’t do anything till there’s a big clamoring. The very fact that they don’t have to make a public announcement about this sort of thing is a blatant hole in policy. No doubt they will use it to lean on certain vendors when they want to get rid of them. At least they wrote a letter to clarify the situation. But how many street vendors read the Gothamist for their updates in policy?

  • If they don’t change the language this will become an issue. They need to fix the error AND BTW as the Times reported:
    “The department will not be enforcing a complete seafood ban that is written into the new regulations. Raw seafood, including ceviche, has been prohibited from food carts and will continue to be prohibited. But the regulations were not meant to ban cooked seafood.”"

    CEVICHE IS NOT RAW!!! Nevertheless this does not conclude the problems that will face the RH Ballfields vendors. (I’m getting worked up, sorry)

  • CEVICHE **IS** RAW/UNCOOKED. It is marinated/pickled, which does NOT kill bacteria/parasites that may be present, even if the proteins are denatured and it appears similar to “cooked” seafood. So the inclusion of ceviche with raw seafood makes perfect sense and is appropriate. Seriously, Mama, you’re off-base with this one. The ban on raw seafoods is based on health issues, and ceviche has the same potential health problems as other raw seafoods in that respect.

  • In simpler terms: cooked=heated, which can kill bacteria/parasites. Ceviche=marinated, which affects proteins but does not kill of most bacteria/parasites if present.

  • ah they better fix this! 14 hours in the library today, and this news made it so much worse!! I would consider some sort of protest by means of chaining myself to Corner 28.

  • I just love my ceviche :-(

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