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City, County shut down over 100 sidewalk vendors selling unsafe food in Santa Ana

Posted on December 20, 2022

Men remove food from tables under a red tent canopy on a sidewalk at night.

The public is urged to check for health permits when buying from street vendors.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – In response to community concerns, the City of Santa Ana and the Orange County Health Care Agency investigated and shut down over 100 sidewalk food vending locations that were found to be selling food unfit for human consumption and operating without the proper health permit over the past six weeks.

The City’s Code Enforcement Division in partnership with the Health Care Agency’s Environmental Health Division (EHD) conducted the operation, accompanied by Santa Ana Police Department personnel.

“While enjoying meals from street vendors has become popular, we cannot allow unsafe food conditions to endanger public health,” Mayor Valerie Amezcua said. “I applaud City and County staff’s efforts to protect our residents.”

Under the California Retail Food Code, certain food-vending facilities, including food trucks and mobile food vendors, are required to obtain the proper health permit and authorization from the local public health agency. As part of the joint enforcement effort, it was determined that the sidewalk vendors did not possess the proper permit to operate, the food being sold and distributed was prepared and maintained outside the requirements of State standards, i.e., Retail Food Code, and that the food was unsafe. Accordingly, EHD inspectors with the assistance of City staff, as authorized by Health and Safety Code section 114393, impounded the food.

California law under SB 946 severely limits local governments from regulating or prohibiting sidewalk vending outright. City Code Enforcement and Orange County EHD staff will continue to conduct additional inspections to ensure that those that are operating do so safely and with the proper health permits. In addition to collaborating with the County, City staff will initiate a revision to the Santa Ana Municipal Code to augment the City’s ability to regulate, enforce, and address local concerns related with this type of food vending.

When buying food from a street vendor, members of the public are advised to check that a health permit is displayed.


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