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Health Dept. Introduces Letter Grades for Food Trucks Starting Today

This morning the Department of Public Health and Wellness announced that food trucks will "begin getting letter grades today."

"The public should expect to see these placards with letter grades of A, B or C appearing on food trucks over the next several months as food inspectors make their regular rounds," the press release said.

Ten days ago, health department deputy director Matthew Rhodes said, it was the department's goal to roll out letter grades by year's end.

The drive for food trucks to get letter grades accelerated in the wake of WAVE 3 Troubleshooter (zap zap) Eric Flack's reports in July about possible health-code concerns involving food trucks. Subsequently, the health department and food truck associations have met twice to discuss what obstacles need to be overcome for trucks to be on the same rating system has brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Here's today's historic press release in its entirety:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – (October 14, 2013) Beginning today - Monday October 14 - food trucks that operate in Louisville will be included in the Department of Public Health and Wellness' ABC Food Placard Program.

As is now required of stationary restaurants and other food service establishments, each food truck operating in Jefferson County will be required to display a placard showing the results of the food truck's last health department inspection. If a food truck does not pass a food safety inspection, the truck operator will be required to provide the Department of Public Health and Wellness a schedule of the truck's locations for the next 10 days so that department inspectors can locate the truck to make the appropriate follow-up inspections.

The public should expect to see these placards with letter grades of A, B or C appearing on food trucks over the next several months as food inspectors make their regular rounds.

For logistical and visibility reasons, the actual placard will be the same size as those displayed in the drive-thru windows of restaurants. Food truck placards will display the same information as stationary restaurants. The placards will list the current letter grade and numerical score. As the food trucks develop a history of inspections over time, their placards will also list letter grades and numerical scores for the restaurant's previous two inspections. For more information on how food scores are calculated, visit http://www.louisvilleky.gov/Health/aboutinspectionscores.htm

"The number of food trucks operating in our city has grown rapidly over the last few years. They have increased the food choices that consumers have available," said Matt Rhodes, deputy director of the Department of Public Health and Wellness. "The food truck inspection placards will give consumers a new tool to make informed choices. Many food truck operators have been asking for this."

Like stationary restaurants, food trucks will also be required to have a certified food manager on duty at all times while the food truck is open for business or preparing food. All food trucks will be required to post a Board of Health issued certification in the unit.

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[Photos: Courtesy Facebook/Louisville Street Food Alliance, Twitter/Louisville Food Truck Association, Louisville Metro Government and WAVE 3]