The Dangers of Street Food

Madison Back

It’s Monday morning. You’re late for work. You forgot breakfast. You didn’t check the weather report because you were rushing out of your apartment, and (surprise!) it’s snowing… again.

Just when you think your day is destined for doom, you approach that steel box of a ray of light conveniently positioned right outside the Astor Place subway stop, the MUD Truck. You walk up, wallet in hand, and suddenly turn your day around with the quick purchase of a cranberry scone and Chai latte.

But what if that ever-reliable, always satisfying, day-improving food truck could be harmful to you?

Michael Doom, an Environmental Health Specialist in New York City, begs to differ that these convenient and comforting food trucks are a good thing.

Doom does not recommend buying or consuming food from a street vendor, “even an apparently licensed and safe one”. He says that food trucks are more dangerous than restaurants because of their inherent restrictions, such as the obvious limited space.

Such limited space and overstocking tendencies can result in a multitude of problems, like inadequate refrigeration and greater possibilities for cross-contamination.

Because these factors can potentially contribute to food poisoning and other related illnesses, Doom argues that “one has to conclude that the risk of contracting such an illness is much higher from eating prepared foods off a catering truck than a restaurant”.

And let’s not even begin to think about the limited of supply of water stored in the truck and how that translates into the hand-washing capabilities of the workers preparing your food.

So the next time you reach for that ever-so-convenient, blissfully greasy pick-me-up, think twice. And, in that second thought, consider the imminent food poisoning Doom suggests will have you waking up an extra 5 minutes early to pack yourself a breakfast bar.

Doom, Michael. “Inherent Dangers of Catering Trucks and Street Vendors: Why They Pose a High Risk of Food Poisoning”.


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