RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA – A new supervisor is among those hoping for changes. Riverside County has some of the toughest rules in the state.

riverside food trucks

A movement is rolling to get Riverside County to ease its restrictions on food trucks.

Food truck advocates and newly elected Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, who campaigned on a promise to “Free the Food Trucks,” want to change the county’s regulations so the public doesn’t have to go to festivals to enjoy freshly prepared food on wheels.

“This is something that people have been enjoying in Orange County, LA and San Diego,” said Jeff Greene, Jeffries’ chief of staff. “There’s no reason people in Riverside County shouldn’t have that right.”

An online petition seeks to have the Board of Supervisors relax its food truck restrictions. More than 800 people had signed the petition as of Friday, Jan. 18.

“We want gourmet grilled cheese, bacon-wrapped brownies and pancakes and bacon flavored cupcakes year-round! Day or night. On a Tuesday,” reads the petition.

San Bernardino County supervisors last summer voted to overhaul their food truck regulations. The trucks can operate in certain locations for extended periods after getting a permit.

Riverside County’s food truck rules are among California’s strictest. Right now, they’re allowed only if they sell pre-packaged foods or are like the hot dog carts outside the County Administrative Center and courthouses in downtown Riverside.

Vehicles in which raw food is cooked and sold can operate in the county only during special events where the trucks can be inspected.

In recent years, food truck festivals have taken place in Riverside, Ontario and at Pechanga Resort & Casino near Temecula. More than 1,500 events involving food trucks took place in 2012, according to Supervisor John Benoit.

The county has connections to the mobile food industry. Mangler’s Meltdown based in Pedley roams throughout California and visits music festivals selling grilled cheese and other hot sandwiches for under $10. California Cart Builder of Lake Elsinore builds food trucks and concession trailers.

Brightly colored food trucks are popular in Los Angeles and other cities. They sell everything from Korean barbecue tacos to sushi and use Twitter to broadcast their locations to followers daily.

Lynne Wilder, program chief for the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health, said her department would be willing to revisit the food truck rules, provided health and safety issues are addressed.

County officials have said food truck restrictions stem from the 1980s when there were incidents of food poisoning, injuries while trying to cook on moving trucks and truck operators dumping wastewater into storm drains.

Angela Janus, executive director of ShareKitchen, a Cathedral City nonprofit organization that provides startup space for aspiring restaurateurs, said she got involved in the effort to ease food truck restrictions after hearing from clients who wanted to start their businesses by running food trucks.

“For us, it’s a great steppingstone for entrepreneurs to step into a truck and eventually a restaurant,” she said.

Find the entire article by Jeff Horseman at The Press Enterprise <here>