NEW YORK, NY – The number of food carts along 34th Street, particularly during the holiday shopping season, has gotten out of hand, a Midtown business group charges.

The 34th Street Partnership wants a ban on food carts along 34th, including on Sundays, when vending rules now don’t apply, WCBS 880?s Alex Silverman reported.

“It’s wall-to-wall carts,” Pisark described of the Sundays just before Christmas.

Businesses complain about smoke and litter produced by the carts, and over the past three years, a few hundred people have complained to 311 that they’ve gotten sick from the food.

“It’s about city inspections, which are not as frequent as brick-and-mortar restaurants,” Pisark said.

The carts don’t get letter grades like restaurants, but they do get evaluated.

“The health department comes in every couple of weeks and investigates everything,” Magdy Abdelgowad told CBS2?s Elise Finch, “We clean it every single day. At night it gets cleaned from everything. The food is every day fresh.”

Matthew Shapiro is an attorney with the Street Vendor Project, a non-profit advocacy group. He said that food cart vendors are regulated and inspected and have their own burden as small businesses.

“The business associations have historically tried to remove a certain type of vendor from the street and put what they think is an appropriate vendor on the sidewalk. Just because you represent a group of business owners doesn’t mean you get to control the way the sidewalk looks,” he said.

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