Supervisors approve A-B-C safety grades for food trucks

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Roberts talks to reporters next to a food truck after the supervisors’ vote to require an A-B-C letter grading system for food trucks.
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Roberts talks to reporters next to a food truck after the supervisors’ vote to require an A-B-C letter grading system for food trucks.

Food truck operators will be required to display the same health inspection letter grades as restaurants under an ordinance passed unanimously by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

The county inspects around 1,100 mobile food operations in the region. Of those, about 550

sell to the public, but the operators were not required to display the results, Supervisor Ron Roberts said on Wednesday.

Restaurants generally display their blue letter grade on a placard in a front window.

Under the new ordinance, food trucks will receive decals instead of cards so the grades can’t be transferred among vehicles.

County Department of Environmental Health officials plan to work with the region’s 18 cities to establish uniform enforcement throughout the county.

Staff will introduce fees related to implementing the new law in September. According to county documents, the costs for inspection could increase by as much as 14 percent, to $450 to $500.

“The world is changing,” said Roberts, this year’s board chairman. “At one time we had drive-in restaurants, now we have drive-around restaurants.”

The plan was supported by the San Diego County Restaurant Association and food truck owners, according to Roberts.

Of the 550 mobile establishments that sell to the public, around 300 are limited in scope, selling hot dogs and coffee, the county reported. The rest are “hot food trucks,” “gourmet food trucks” and catering vehicles with complex menus and multiple ingredients.

Roberts said he hopes the county will begin putting the results of food truck safety inspections online, at the same website where the county shows reports on restaurants — eatsafesandiego.org.

The supervisors, as part of their consent agenda, also approved an update of county regulations of body art businesses — including tattoo shops and body piercing establishments — to bring them into line with new state law.

   
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