Food trucks will now be prohibited in areas two to three blocks from Ocean Beach, under a new guideline passed by the city of San Diego. The new law is raising objections from managers and owners of mobile food franchises. Many brick-and-mortar restaurants along the beach will likely see an increase in visitors from this new regulation.
Managers of mobile food trucks in San Diego will also need to abide by new directives on their hours of operation and additional licensing requirements.
The increasingly popular mobile gourmet food market has upset both owners of traditional restaurants, and residents along beachfront properties. Business owners claim food trucks provide unfair competition, while some private residents claim the vehicles create noise and pollution.
Quite often, fun is poked at food safety from mobile vendors. The subject is a staple of both stand-up comedy and serious debate.
Officials in charge of ensuring food safety from these vendors say the characterization of food trucks as unsanitary is unfair, as well as unwarranted.
Christie Sweitz, is the interim supervisor for inspection in Portland, Oregon. She told reporters, “Trucks are required to follow strict guidelines and they are inspected as often as restaurants.”
Some critics of the mobile food industry say the vehicles often park illegally, blocking traffic, and making passage along city streets hazardous. There are over 2,000 different agencies and regulatory bodies overseeing sanitation among food truck vendors. Some analysts believe this patchwork of regulations makes enforcement inconsistent. Due to the high cost of obtaining licenses, many food trucks operate without certification from local or state authorities.
Todd Gloria, president of the City Council, wrote “The ordinance is a fair approach to protect public health, safety and welfare while providing for mobile food truck operations on private property and in the public right-of-way, and I know food truck operators will benefit from having this clarity.”
Food trucks around San Diego may have been set back by these new regulations. But, they’ll still be three blocks away when you need a quick, inexpensive meal.