Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Legal taco stands would close in proposed ban

The Tennessean reports in this article that legal, licensed taco stands with good health scores may have to close as a result of a Metro council proposal to ban some kinds of mobile food carts.

"Dozens of wheeled taco stands, barbecue trucks and other mobile food vendors would have to fold up the awnings under a proposed new Metro law intended to combat rats, water problems and other health issues."

"Three Metro Council members say the businesses pose health hazards and consistently get low inspection marks from the city. More than 70 vendors would have to close up shop, a review of city health records shows."

"'Proportionally we're having more problems with our mobile kitchens' than sit-down restaurants, said Jerry Rowland, director of food protection services for the Metro Health Department. 'That's not to say that we don't have some really good mobile kitchen operators.'"

"The proposed rules would allow mobile vendors at temporary special events, nonprofit functions and events on public property such as parks. Smaller hot dog stands, common downtown, can also continue to operate. And ice cream trucks aren't affected."

The Nashville City Paper wrote in this editorial that existing food safety regulations should be enforced against the problem kitchens, instead of shutting down the good along with the bad.

Concerns are raised in both the Tennessean article and the City Paper editorial that the ban would have a disproportionate impact on Hispanic and other minority business owners.

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