Los Angeles City Council plans to request the state to facilitate the operation of street vendors in the city

The resolution seeks to help the operation of street vendors.

Photo: AGUSTIN PAULLIER / AFP / Getty Images

Los Angeles City Hall contemplates asking the state to change the California Retail Food Code to extend to street vendors in the city and a practical system is established to regulate their operations.

Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who introduced the resolution on September 28, stated that the number of food vendors in Los Angeles who have been granted permits (165 out of nearly 10,000 estimated in the city), speaks volumes about the prohibitive nature of current state and county food regulations.

“As a result, our suppliers are forced to operate informally and face the threat of citations, fines and the confiscation of cars and merchandise that constitute their livelihood. We call on the state to enact structural solutions that can empower street food vendors to fully and formally participate in the economy, ”Raman said.

The resolution could be considered this tuesday during the Los Angeles City Council meeting.

A report from the UCLA School of Law Community Economic Development clinic and the non-profit law firm Public Counsel revealed that, Despite legislation enacted in 2018 in Los Angeles and California to legislate street vending, the majority of people who engage in this activity are preyed upon every day by the threat of fines or are fined..

The report mentions that, to apply for a Los Angeles County Food Vendor Permit, Those interested face procedures that can only be carried out in English and you must visit different offices and countless documentation of prerequisites; In addition, applicants do not receive adequate assistance during the process.

Since the city began issuing permits, in 2020, only 165 have been delivered. In the report, it is indicated that around 10,000 people are engaged in this activity.

The report notes that California Retail Food Code prohibits fruit carts and taco stands by not allowing fruit to slice, reheat, or keep previously prepared foods warm in a closed food cart.

One of the report’s authors, Scott Cummings of the UCLA Community Economic Development Clinic, stated that a problem arises from a network of state, county and city of Los Angeles laws that deprive street vendors of access to permits to legally offer food, in addition to undermining the principles of food safety that the laws claim to protect.

The resolution presented by Raman asks the state to implement the recommendations of the UCLA report to make health compliance more feasible for street vendors by providing a streamlined process for food cart inspection and approval, include reasonable standards for slicing fruit, safely reheating and keeping food warm, reducing sink requirements, and expanding access to safe food preparation.

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