FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Officials with the Fresno County Department of Public Health are responding after a viral video captured health officers throwing away a street vendor’s food outside of a concert in Fresno.
Outside the Save Mart Center on Friday night, Sept. 16, officers from the health department could be seen on video throwing away hotdogs after finding out that 16-year-old Edgar Tol from Bakersfield didn’t have a license to sell food.
During a press conference on Friday, Sept. 23, Erica Armstrong, an environmental health specialist, said that the department had thrown away the food in order to protect the health of the street vendor’s customers.
“We really didn’t have a choice about having to discard that food,” explained Erica Armstrong. “If we are unable to verify the source of the food, if the food is held at improper temperatures, and holding equipment is not proper, then we do have to discard the food.”
Armstrong said that the same process for discarding food is in place for businesses that are permitted to sell food, as well as unpermitted street vendors.
Officials said the food holding requirements are not a local decision and are in place for the entire state.
As far as the permitting process, it depends on what type of food the street vendor wants to sell.
While applying for a permit, officials said street vendors can reach out to the department to get help figuring out which steps they need to take during the process to get permitted.
Before buying any type of equipment, officials urge street vendors to reach out to the health department to figure out what they need to meet the requirements to sell food.
Officials said the Tol will be able to get his confiscated food cart back after paying a $196 fee.