ALBANY — Manhattan food carts and trucks were found to have significantly more violations in 2016 than the other four boroughs combined, a new report shows.
The state Senate Independent Democratic Conference released the report as the Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to create a letter grading system for food pushcarts and trucks in New York City.
If such a rating system had been in place in 2016, six of the dirtiest carts, including three in the city, would have been issued violations that could have resulted in a “C” rating, according to the report.
“With this more transparent system in place, consumers will have fewer worries about their food being unsafe when they pick up a falafel, a hot dog or a taco on the go,” said bill sponsor Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens).
According to the report, city inspectors conducted 4,319 food cart and truck inspections in Manhattan in 2016 and found 5,044 violations. In 1,193 cases, there were multiple violations cited.
By contrast, 2,752 inspections were done in the other four boroughs combined, with 2,817 violations being issued, the report said. Of those, 623 were multiple violations.
Overall, 1,212 violations were found in Queens, 982 in Brooklyn, 600 in the Bronx, and 23 in Staten Island.
At 1.17, Manhattan had the worst violations-per-inspection rate. The Bronx at 0.82 had the best.
The three most common problems, which made up 40% of all violations issued in 2016, had little to do with health issues, the report said. Instead they focused on where the carts or trucks were located or how they were set up.
But the top 10 most common violations tied directly to food safety accounted for 25% of all the violations issued, the report said.
Of the health-related citations, improper food temperatures, a lack of effective hair restraint, and dirty equipment were listed in the report as the top problems found.
“Many of these can pose serious problems for food contamination,” the report found.
The city inspections are currently not made public, which Peralta says prompted his bill that would require the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to convert the existing health inspections into the letter grade equivalent.
It would also give the city the authority for the first time to seek the routes where the food carts or trucks will be located so they can be more easily inspected.
The bill has the support of the de Blasio administration.
“We believe it’s critical to promote transparency around mobile food vending inspections,” De Blasio spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said.
While the legislation passed the Senate by a 57 to 5 tally, it has not even moved out of committee in the Assembly, where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens).
An Assembly spokesman said the bill will be reviewed.
The City Council is considering its own legislation to create a letter grade system for street food vendors similar to the one in place for restaurants.
But Peralta said the city bill does not go as far as his, which he said is modeled after a system already in place in Los Angeles.
Several mainline Senate Democrats complained Peralta’s bill doesn’t do enough to address problems from food trucks that run all day, cause noise problems, and pollution from their propane tanks.
Others said the issue should be decided by the City Council rather than the state.