Mobile food rules get early OK
A City Council committee Thursday unanimously approved six recommendations to toughen the city’s mobile food vending ordinance, sending the issue to the full council for a possible decision this summer. The recommendations would augment regulation of the city’s growing mobile vending industry, which has more than doubled since 2006, when it had 648 vendors.
Under the recommendations approved by the three-member health and human services committee, vendors would be required to provide proof of a state sales tax permit, pass inspection by the Fire Department, document use of central food preparation facilities and provide notarized certification of the facilities, provide an itinerary of truck routes and provide written permission for employees to use restrooms at the businesses from which the vendors lease space.
The recommendations were presented by the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, which said that public safety was its top priority.
The city began its review after the owner of a fleet of trucks, Tom Ramsey, urged the council in May 2009 to add teeth to the mobile food vending ordinance. Ramsey said that he had identified 42 regulations imposed in other Texas cities, but not in Austin. He charged that illegitimate vendors were exploiting gaps in Austin’s rules.