The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

State Bill on Food Vendors Hurts Businesses

Every day many students walk off campus to get food at the Taco Truck. However a new law in the California Assembly could stop this altogether.

Assembly Member Bill Monning introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1678, which “would prohibit a mobile food facility from selling or otherwise providing food or beverages within 1,500 feet of any property line of an elementary or secondary school campus.”

The rationale is that it will help prevent students from eating unhealthy food. However, this law is flawed and will be unable to achieve its goals.
The first and most obvious problem is that not all food served by the school is necessarily healthier than the food served by food trucks. The law is far too broad; it makes assumptions about the food from mobile vendors that often prove to be untrue.

However, even if food carts were outlawed, the bill does not accomplish its supposed goal of wanting kids to eat healthier. High school students can easily seek out other unhealthy food. Most students can drive or are friends with someone who can.

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But above all, one of the biggest problems is that it will unnecessarily stop business. The Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association estimates that thousands of people would be put out of work and businesses would be harmed.

When our economy is suffering it is unreasonable to institute a state wide law whose main effect would be putting people out of work. Unless there is a compelling reason to stymie business it should be avoided at all costs.

Instead, the problem should be addressed on a local level. There is no rationale for why this must be a state issue. However, if a community has serious problems with mobile food vendors, then it can pass regulations itself.

If the state’s main interest truly is protecting student health, it should leave the issue to those who know it affects the most closely: community and school leaders.

The goal of increasing students’ nutrition is an admirable one, but this law won’t help this cause. It is far too broad and, in many cases, will counteract aim.

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