Street Eats, Safe Eats: Los Angeles






Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which inspects all food establishments for potential violations, provided inspection data for 2009 through July 2012. In that time, the department conducted 45,611 inspections of Los Angeles’ food establishments, including trucks, carts and restaurants.

Table 5 provides the average number of violations, showing that violations were uncommon across all categories of food service.13 Both Los Angeles’ trucks and carts outperformed restaurants, as trucks averaged 3.6 violations, mobile food carts—hot dog stands and other sidewalk carts—2.4, and restaurants 7.8.

These differences held up under statistical analysis, as shown in Table 6. Results show that both Los Angeles’ food trucks and food carts had fewer violations than its restaurants, and the differences were statistically significant.


Table 5: Los Angeles Food-safety Violations, 2009-July 2012*

  Average (Mean) Violations   Standard Deviation   Minimum   Maximum
Food Trucks 3.59 6.40 0 100
Restaurants 7.82 5.25 0 100
Carts 2.37 5.74 0 36


*Data provided by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and based on 2,928 inspections of 601 food trucks, 42,089 inspections of 7,542 restaurants and 594 inspections of 236 carts.



Table 6: Estimated Differences in Food-safety Violations, Los Angeles,
2009-July 2012 (Statistically Significant Results in Italics)*

Average Restaurant
Violations Compared
to Food Trucks
Rate of Restaurant
Violations  Compared
to Food Trucks
 Average Restaurant
Violations Compared
to Food Carts
Rate of Restaurant
Violations Compared
to Food Carts
4.48 more 120% more 5.65 more 237% more


*Results listed derived from OLS and Poisson regressions. Full regression results can be found in Appendix B.

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