Monday, July 06, 2009

Unhealthy Cart Regime

Well, as we have already posted today, it does seem as if the city's Department of Health has been much too preoccupied with its quixotic efforts to transform the life styles and behaviors of New Yorkers-at the expense of its core mission of insuring health safety. The NY Post captures this in a follow up story on food carts: "The Health Department wants to yank the permits of more than 500 street food vendors after undercover investigators found widespread fraud. Acting at the urging of the Department of Investigation, health officials said they're reviewing "a list of possible illegal permits."

But the fraud went right to the core mission: "Suspicions at the Health Department were aroused in 2006, when workers at its Maspeth, Queens, facility began noticing that an unusually high number of carts were being brought in for inspection by the same small group of vendors and middlemen. Investigators discovered that unscrupulous vendors were gaming the system by using clean carts as stand-ins for those that couldn't pass inspection."

Can we get any more compelling evidence that the food cart oversight regime is badly in need of an extreme makeover-and that the DOH has been as badly distracted from doing its job of making sure that the food sold in the city was, if not trans fat free and calorie posted-at least safe from food borne pathogens? Perhaps now, we can get the city council to take effective action to insure that the enforcement of peddling laws will be possible; and that the inspection regime is simplified so that this important task can be easily accomplished.