Bloomberg’s Food Cart Sanitation Task Force

January 31, 2013 | Andy Cush

In an effort to make NYC’s food carts more sanitary and collect some money along the way, Mayor Bloomberg is creating a seven-person, $580,000 squadron to enforce cleanliness laws on the carts and make sure violation fines are paid. Though the Health Department touted the new measure, saying it would protect public health, some vendors feel like they’re being attacked unfairly (at least they’ve got it better than food trucks, which were noted for “terrorism implications” by FDNY last year).

Take sausage man Nate Hurt, who says he gets hassled by inspectors for tiny infractions, even though he keeps his cart clean. “There’s always going to be something,” he said. “It might be a wire hanging from a sign. It might be a dirty lightbulb. I’m having nightmares already”

Sean Basinski, director of the Street Vendor Project, believes the city should take a more humane tack. “They can hire as many lawyers as they want. Vendors aren’t paying their fines because they can’t afford them,” he said. “Help vendors comply with the rules, instead of trying to chase after them.”

(Photo: Ed Gaillard/Flickr)