Food Trucks Coming to Riverside County - Fox 2 News Headlines

Food Trucks Coming to Riverside County

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(FOX 11/CNS) -  Riverside County supervisors have signed off on a proposal to lift most restrictions that prevent food truck operators in the county from selling foods that are fried, barbecued, broiled and grilled, though operators will be prohibited from parking in some locations.

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries in June proposed eliminating provisions in Ordinance No. 580 that limit food trucks to selling only packaged foods, ice cream, roasted nuts and steam-cooked hot dogs. Jeffries called the restrictions anti-business and anti-competitive, noting that in neighboring Los Angeles and Orange counties no such prohibitions exist.

The county Department of Environmental Health, in cooperation with the Office of County Counsel, drew up amendments to 580 that will   free mobile food operators to dramatically expand their menus, offering chicken, burgers, steaks and other meaty treats.

An introduction to the revised ordinance states that operators would be permitted to engage in "full service food preparation and sales on a daily basis."

"The proposed changes will provide expanded business opportunities for mobile food operations within the county," documents said.

Under the amended ordinance, mobile food vendors will  be classified according to what they sell. The key change in the law would be the addition of a designation for "mobile food preparation unit."

The full-service trucks will be required to undergo inspections by county health officials and obtain annual permits. Operators will  have to ensure staff have food handler certification specified under the California Health & Safety Code.

All food trucks will  have to be supplied by a central "commissary," where supplies and products are stored. Commissaries would have to meet sanitation standards defined by the state and obtain annual permits, according to documents.

Trucks will  be letter-graded, same as brick-and-mortar restaurants. Any facility that fails to achieve an "A" -- 90 percent or better -- during a routine inspection will be given five business days to correct deficiencies.

According to the ordinance, if issues aren't resolved by the time of the second inspection, an operator will  be subject to penalties ranging from $50 to $1,000, depending on the number of offenses.

Operator permits could also be revoked. Any non-permitted food truck operator caught doing business in the county could face misdemeanor charges.  Under the revised ordinance, food trucks would be allowed to operate in any unincorporated community and within the county's 28 cities. However, cities would retain discretion over "time, place, manner" and zoning restrictions that block mobile vendors from selling in certain locations.

Until now, Riverside County was the only county in the state that did not allow food trucks.

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