Mo­bile food rules get early OK

Austin American-Statesman - - LOCAL BRIEFING -

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.

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