Study: Miami food trucks cleaner than restaurants

William Patrick
|
Jun 11, 2014 10:37 AM

William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The next time you want something new for lunch, try a food truck — if you can find one.

Fueled by public health concerns, mobile food vendors often face tough regulations that either outright ban them, or restrict where and when they can operate, but a new study finds food trucks may be safer than most sit-down eateries.

The Institute for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm, characterizes such regulations as protectionist rackets designed to squash or limit restaurant competition.

They may have a point.

In new study called Street Eats, Safe Eats, IJ takes on the perception that food trucks and food carts are septic health hazards. After examining 260,000 food inspection records from seven large cities across the country with onerous mobile food restrictions, IJ found that street vendors are actually cleaner than brick-and-mortar restaurants.

In Miami, mobile food vendors averaged half as many violations as restaurants, according to the study. The rate of critical restaurant violations outpaced food trucks and carts by 61 percent.

“Miamians love food trucks, but the city essentially bans food trucks from operating, except for special events,” said Angela C. Erickson, an IJ research analyst and author of the study.

“The idea that street food is unsafe is a myth, and Miami’s ban on food trucks does not improve public health; it only stifles entrepreneurship and prevents Miamians from deciding where they want to eat lunch.”

Here’s a quick video explaining IJ’s findings:

Contact William Patrick at wpatrick@watchdog.org