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Complaints trigger inspections of un-permitted food vendors


Washoe County Health District officials on Tuesday said they would be inspecting un-permitted food vendors in response to a number of complaints lodged against those operating in the Hispanic community.

Health district staff said the main concern with the street vendors is to ensure they’re complying with food safety regulations.

“Our main goal is to ensure public health and safety and prevent customers getting sick from foodborne illnesses, which may occur if food is not properly stored or handled,” said Erin Dixon, who oversees environmental health services for WCHD.

“We are asking for the vendors’ cooperation to obtain the proper permits and equipment they need to safely operate to reduce the risk to the community and limit the need for us to issue citations and shut down operations,” she said.

One of WCHD’s legal requirements is to ensure food operators are complying with food safety regulations, including handwashing, monitoring and maintaining proper food temperatures, and proper food handling and storage.

WCHD officials said six local, un-permitted food operators in July 2021 were issued cease and desist orders for violating food safety regulations. They had been selling sliced fruit, shaved ice, tacos and beverages at temporary locations throughout the community.

The health district is hosting a town hall in Spanish to assist food operators in getting permitted and learn more about how WCHD staff can help the Hispanic community. The session is March 3 at 9:30 a.m. and will be live at Washoe County Commission Chambers, via video conference or on Facebook Live.

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