Safety Grades Come to Carts Near Stuyvesant

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Issue 17, Volume 109

By Hugo Smith 

New York City has begun issuing safety grades to food vendors across the city. For Stuyvesant students, this eliminates a lot of the uncertainty that comes with eating street meat. “A lot of the places around here are a little iffy,” said a vendor operating the new “Doctor’s Orders” cart on the corner of Chambers and Greenwich. The vendor said his cart had been inspected only two weeks after opening.

The rollout was announced last November, with the first grades issued in early January. According to the Health department, the grades are based on the system used for restaurants, with A, B, or C grades. They will be issued gradually, as the city estimates that it will take two years to inspect all of the 5,500 food carts operating in the five boroughs. GPS tracking devices will be installed in order to allow inspectors to locate them.

This is a major change from the previous system, where, despite the fact that vendors were regularly inspected, there was no system for the public to view the results. The city plans to implement a website to allow customers to look up the results of a cart’s most recent inspection.

This is a leap forward for all New Yorkers who eat at these carts, especially Stuyvesant students. For students who are often limited by time and money, these carts are an enticing solution to both issues for lunch. It is understandable why one may be worried about the conditions in these carts. With the seemingly unhygienic situations at times and the absence of a sink and bathroom, the inspection results will provide customers with the peace of mind they’ve come to expect when eating at restaurants.