Foodservice Equipment Reports

California Mulls Tougher Rules On Food Trucks

Food trucks—where they go and where they park—continue to be an issue in California. A state lawmaker, stating concerns about childhood obesity, has introduced a bill to significantly limit where food trucks and lunch wagons can operate. AB1678 would ban these mobile foodservice units from operating within 1,500 feet of schools, a distance even greater than that placed on marijuana dispensaries. Pot stores must be 600 feet from schools.

In Los Angeles, boundaries would triple the current limit of 500 feet. In many other cities, the measure would create a new no-go zone. Food-truck operators say the restrictions would put large swaths of their markets—as much as 80% of streets in some places—out of reach. The outcry from operators has led to promises from the bill’s author to soften the bill’s language.

The legislation is driven in part by California Food Policy Advocates, a nonpartisan group which lobbies to improve nutrition for low-income residents. The group has already found success in previous bans on soft drinks in campus vending machines.

Anti-obesity bills are popularly received in the California statehouse; in recent years, lawmakers have barred restaurants from cooking with trans fats and (ahead of federal legislation) required them to post calorie counts on their menus. Local ordinances governing food trucks have been put on the backburner while debate continues on a statewide law.

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