RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Food truck vendors in Riverside County will soon be frying, grilling, and barbecuing their way to a profit on county streets.
The county Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to repeal Ordinance No. 580 (PDF), which allows food trucks to sell only steam-cooked hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones or shaved ice, coffee and cocoa-based drinks, and other pre-packaged foods.
Adopted in 1980 and upheld in 2007, Ordinance 580 was passed in response to illegal street food vendors — often referred to as “roach coaches” — that were known for food poisoning, poor sanitation and other health issues.
Under a proposal from Supervisor Ken Jeffries, mobile food operators will be allowed to dramatically expand their menus, offering chicken, burgers, steaks and other fare to compete with similar operations in neighboring Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The revised ordinance will classify mobile food vendors according to what they sell. Food trucks will also be required to undergo inspections by county health officials and obtain annual permits.
Similar to Los Angeles and Orange counties, trucks will be letter-graded for health standards much like brick-and-mortar restaurants. Any facility that fails to score a grade of 90 percent or better would be given five business days to correct the deficiency or face penalties of up to $1,000.
Under the new guidelines, food truck operators will still be prohibited from parking in some locations throughout Riverside County.
Supporters say food trucks are good for small business and will give consumers more choices, while critics worry the trucks won’t be adequately inspected to meet public health standards.