Street Eats, Safe Eats: How Food Trucks and Carts Stack Up to Restaurants on Sanitation

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Street Eats, Safe Eats
By Angela C. Erickson

June 2014

Street food, long a part of American life, has boomed in popularity in recent years. Yet an idea persists that food from trucks and sidewalk carts is unclean and unsafe. Street Eats, Safe Eats tests that common, but unsubstantiated claim by reviewing more than 260,000 food-safety inspection reports from seven large American cities. In each of those cities, mobile vendors are covered by the same health codes and inspection regimes as restaurants and other brick-and-mortar businesses, allowing an apples-to-apples comparison.

Street Eats, Safe Eats finds that in every city examined—Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Seattle and Washington, D.C.—food trucks and carts did as well as or better than restaurants.

The results suggest that the notion that street food is unsafe is a myth. They also suggest that the recipe for clean and safe food trucks is simple—inspections. More burdensome regulations proposed in the name of food safety, such as outright bans and limits on when and where mobile vendors may work, do not make street food safer—they just make it harder to get.



Contents


Executive Summary

Introduction 

Methods

Results

Boston

Las Vegas

Los Angeles

Louisville

Miami

Seattle

Washington, D.C.

Conclusion

Appendix A: Methods

Appendix B: Regression Output

 

Press Release and Figures

Other Research

Release: Myth Busted: Boston Food Trucks Are Safer Than Restaurants (June 10, 2014)

 

Report: Food-Truck Freedom:How to Build Better Food-Truck Laws in Your City

Release: Myth Busted: Las Vegas Food Trucks Are Safer Than Restaurants (June 10, 2014) Report: Seven Myths and Realities about Food Trucks: Why the Facts Support Food-Truck Freedom
Release: Los Angeles Must End Sidewalk Vending Ban (June 10, 2014) Report: Streets of Dreams: How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity by Knocking Down Protectionist Barriers to Street Vending
Release: Myth Busted: Lousville Food Trucks Are Safer Than Restaurants (June 10, 2014)
Release: Myth Busted: Miami Food Trucks Are Safer Than Restaurants (June 10, 2014)
Release: Myth Busted: Seattle Food Trucks Are Safer Than Restaurants (June 10, 2014)
Release: Myth Busted: Washington, D.C. Food Trucks Are Safer Than Restaurants (June 10, 2014)
Op-Eds, News Articles, and Links
Article: Are Louisville food trucks making the grade? WAVE-TV (July 22, 2014)
Video: Food truck owners dish on keeping their kitchens clean Fox News (June 26, 2014)
Article: Study shows local food trucks get bum rap on cleanliness Las Vegas Review-Journal (June 22, 2014)
Article: Study says food trucks are cleaner than restaurants KHSB-TV (June 20, 2014)
Op-Ed: Food trucks a savory choice Boston Herald (June 13, 2014)
Op-Ed: Food Trucks Receive an A The Voice-Tribune (June 12, 2014)
Article: Food trucks as safe as restaurants, study says The Boston Globe (June 11, 2014)
Article: Louisville food trucks just as safe as restaurants The Courier-Journal (June 11, 2014)
Article: Are food trucks as clean as restaurants? Seattle Times (June 10, 2014)
Article: Miami food trucks are cleaner than restaurants Miami Herald (June 10, 2014)

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