NYC food trucks, carts to get letter grades

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New York City restaurants have displayed letter grades from the Health Department for years. Now that system will expand to those quintessential city eateries—taco trucks, hot dog carts, and all other mobile food vendors.

Health inspectors will assign "A," "B" or "C" grades to all 5,500 authorized food carts and trucks based on a point system similar to the ones used for restaurants.

"Letter grades on food carts and trucks will help New Yorkers see how these businesses fared on their latest inspection, right when they want to place an order," Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the acting health commissioner, said in a statement. "Just as diners appreciate letter grading in restaurants, we expect this program to be popular among customers of food carts and trucks."

But some vendors are concerned about the way the Department of Health will keep track of the location of all the carts and trucks: by tracking GPS devices that will be installed in every mobile unit.

The DOH said that it will safeguard the GPS data and that only department staff will have access to it.

"Specifically, the Department will delete all location data within 24 hours; protect data during transmission and storage; and make the location-sharing device identification number different from the unit's permit, decal and license number," the DOH said in a news release. "In addition, the Department will 'ask' the device for the location information only when the food cart or truck is due for inspection."