Cracking down on illegal food vendors

The owner of The Rolling Stove is up in arms in the wake of claims made in the Legislative Assembly last week suggesting food trucks are not adhering to food safety regulations.

Sarah O’Keeffe says food trucks have to adhere to the same safety guidelines as those required for brick and mortar restaurants.

“In order to be granted the trade and business license, one must pass the same health and safety inspections completed by the Department of Environmental Health as any restaurant,” said Mrs. O’Keeffe.

“This includes a full ‘kitchen’ inspection of equipment, refrigeration, cleanliness, running hot water, and proper exhaust ventilation,” she added.

Roydell Carter, director of the Department of Environmental Health, said the claims were more geared toward unlicensed food vendors that operate out of private vehicles.

“The problem really is persons who operate illegally don’t have a trade and business license, nor have they applied to the DEH for any advice,” said Mr. Carter.

“Whether they are mobile vendors or vans on the road, we also have others who have mobile [vending] in their private vehicles. Those are the ones that are a big concern to us because we don’t know anything about them and where they operate at,” he added.

Ian Charlery, trade officer at the Department of Commerce and Investment, said the department requires aspiring food vendors to gain approval from the DEH before they can apply for a trade and business license.

“If you were going to apply for a mobile vending license before you even submit an application to us, you have to get approval from DEH. The approval will state that this business has been checked out and met all necessary inspections and requirements by DEH and then, after that, they can get a trade and business license,” said Mr. Charlery.

Minister of Health Osbourne Bodden said,“My recommendation to the director verbally is to tighten up on this area, which is becoming too common on our road sides without proper controls. Hygiene is crucial when serving food to the public. The DEH will need to liaise with the Trade and Business Board on this to ensure people have the necessary approvals and annual checks as deemed necessary,” said Mr. Bodden.

Laura Silverman of Al La Kebab and food truck Al La Ke-Vroom said, “We cannot speak for other food trucks and mobile vendors, but only for our own restaurants, both mobile and bricks and mortar location…We take food safety and quality control very seriously.”