Food trucks battling Calif. bill banning mobile food near schools

If you have not been aware, there is a new bill introduced that wants to ban food trucks from being 1500 ft near a school.  Here is a most recent write up posted by OCR’s Nancy Luna.

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February 27th, 2012, posted by

Photo by Mindy Schauer/The Register

A bill introduced this month that would prevent mobile vendors near California schools is causing an uproar among food truck operators who fear they might be banned from serving students.

Introduced by Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel, AB1678 prohibits mobile food and beverage vending within 1,500 feet of elementary and secondary school campuses from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“The mobile vending of unhealthful snacks like ice cream, chips and sugar sweetened beverages near school campuses undermines efforts to provide students with the nutrition they need,” Monning said when he introduced the bill earlier this month.  ”At a time when childhood obesity is at epidemic levels, we must ensure that our school environments foster student wellness.”

Orange County food truck opeators say the legislation, while well-intended, will hurt their businesses, and possibly school-fundraising efforts.

“This new law under consideration would preclude us from serving customers that are not related to the neighboring school,” said Ted Rodriguez, owner of the Flavor Rush truck.

OCR file photo

However, Monning said the bill is not targeting gourmet food trucks. The bill, instead, is aimed at stopping food vendors from selling candy, chips and sodas while students are still in school.  (Note: Sodas sold in vending machines are banned at California schools. )

“It is not my intention to impede mobile food vending at commercial sites.  I am working to clarify the language of the bill to address this issue,” Monning told The Register on Friday.

A representative for Monning also said the lawmaker is not trying to stop after-school fundraising events involving food trucks.  A new draft of the bill is expected to address the food truck vendors’ concerns, according to Monning’s office, which has been flooded with calls since the bill was introduced.

In Orange County, many public schools,  including Villa Park High School and Canyon High School in the Orange Unified School District, host weekly food truck events to raise funds for programs.

Rodriguez said his truck can often be found at fundraisers involving schools in Anaheim, Yorba Linda, Cerritos, Fullerton, Laguna Niguel and Costa Mesa.

“I think I speak for many of the food truck operators, when I say, hopefully a compromise can be worked out so that the symbiotic relationship between schools and foods trucks can continue,” he said


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