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Toronto Food Carts Could Soon Get Expanded Menus

Street food fans may soon see a wider variety of mobile munchables available from Toronto food carts.

Last week, the city took steps that would allow food carts to sell a wider array of food options as long as they are approved by Toronto Public Health.

A proposal from the City appointed Street Food Working Group encouraged Toronto City Council to determine steps that can be taken to increase the availability of healthy and diverse street food in the city.

City council’s Licensing and Standards committee will meet this week to discuss the report’s recommendation that existing bylaws be relaxed to allow food cart vendors to expand their menus.

On his radio talkshow Sunday, Mayor Rob Ford said he would back a proposal to allow street vendors to expand their offerings beyond the widely available hot dogs.

“I believe in free enterprise and (vendors) being able to sell what they want”, said Ford.

Marianne Moroney, executive director of the Street Food Vendors Association and a food cart vendor herself, appeared on the Ford brother’s Newstalk 1010 show to discuss the potential expansion in the city’s food vendor industry.

Moroney said on the show that the existing hotdog industry should be able to expand very easily.

Ford is joined by a number of other city council members who are also on board to create a more diverse selection of menu options available on street food carts. Councillors Wong-Tam, Vaughan and Colle have each voiced support for making street food a priority in Toronto.

Last week, Councillor Josh Matlow tweeted: “It’s time to cut the red tape on street food diversity. Toronto should be able to enjoy food vendor options from falafels to fresh fruit.”

Currently vendors are only allowed to sell pre-cooked hot dogs and sausages.

If city council approves the recommended changes, vendors could also add a number of items to their menus without the approval of Toronto Public Health such as: pre- packaged fruits, nuts and salads; bagels with pre-packaged peanut butter, margarine, butter or jam; soups; pre-packaged tabbouleh salad and pita bread; pre-cooked veggie burgers; coffees and teas.

The changes would be a small step toward allowing street carts to sell their own unique creations.

It should be noted that this initial recommendation applies to food carts only. Food trucks do not face menu restrictions and can serve anything a restaurant can.

Currently the main issue facing trucks are a myriad of zoning bylaws that prevent more accessible vending and the slow pace at which the City is moving to change this.

But, in a city encased in bureaucratic red tape any indication of change is more than welcome.

About the Author: Liz Caven is a student in the Humber College post-graduate journalism program. She has contributed to The Daily Planet and has experience as a production intern at FashionTelevision. Follow Liz on twitter at @liz_caven.

Photo credit: PinkMoose

About the Author: Mark Macdonald is the Founder of Toronto Food Trucks. He is a Toronto freelance web designer and a street food movement supporter. Get more from Mark on Twitter and .

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