NEW ORLEANS, LA – New Orleans City Council president Stacy Head presented her proposed food truck legislation to the council’s Economic Development Committee this afternoon, but she will revise the measures to “to accommodate the loudest voices” in opposition before a vote in the full council.
New Orleans Food Truck Coalition attorney Andrew Legrand, who presented alongside coalition president Rachel Billow of the food truck La Cocinita, said one of its main opponents is the Louisiana Restaurant Association, which Legrand said is running a “fear-based campaign” about health and safety while it’s more afraid of possible competition from mobile vendors. “Food trucks are safe,” Legrand said, adding that according to state law, “Mobile food vendors have to follow the same exact regulations as restaurants do. There’s no difference.”
City health commissioner Karen DeSalvo said she fears the entrepreneurial aspect of trucks and a changing legislation outpaces health code updates. Head echoed food truck supporters, saying those health concerns were a red herring to change the outdated legislation.
J.T. Lane, assistant secretary of the state Department of Heath and Hospitals, wrote council members about the department’s “future enhancements” to retail food regulation — including mobile vending. “Our office will continue to inspect all food establishments and enforce the state’s sanitary code, regardless of business model,” Lane wrote.
DeSalvo said DHH wants trucks to be “as safe for the public as possible,” and she anticipates completing a review of the health updates within the next couple of weeks. “The state wants to make sure it’s prepared and ready to enforce the public’s health as opportunities change with access to food,” she said.
Find the entire article by Alex Woodward at the Best of New Orleans <here>