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Street vendor preparing food on her cart in Los Angeles

Support street vendors now

Demand California update the retail food code.


The California Retail Food Code is outdated and no longer relevant to street food vendors. While vending is legal in many cities, outdated state retail food rules prevent most vendors from obtaining the permits needed to sell their food legally. Local street vendors are being unfairly treated, targeted and marginalized.

From hot dogs and tamales in San Francisco to tacos and fresh fruit in Los Angeles, street vendors are hard-working community members who contribute to the overall economy and provide much-needed accessibility to food options in places that could otherwise face food scarcity.

It’s time to modernize the retail food code to include food vendors to ensure healthy and safe outcomes for vendors and consumers alike.

Graphic illustration of a taco

The Facts

Street vendors contribute to a thriving local economy and are a crucial part of the pandemic recovery efforts. In Los Angeles alone, an estimated 12,500 street food vendors generate millions of dollars in revenue every year. Removing the obstacles to street vendors at a time when outdoor dining is at its peak is a commonsense way to bring legitimacy and opportunity to these small businesses.

Empowering street vendors means more economic stability for communities of color. The majority of street vendors are Black and Brown women, so supporting them means supporting a racially diverse community and a more equitable economy for all. 

Street vendors are a crucial part of California’s food infrastructure. Modernizing the current code is an opportunity to include and protect street vendors, while also advancing all food services.

Street vendors provide a vital service to communities that could otherwise face food scarcity. Creating a fair and accessible permitting process for vendors helps protect them from abuse and violence. Updating the food code will create a safer environment for everyone.

Street vendors are a crucial part of their local neighborhoods and the backbone of their communities and economies. Vendors are valued community members who provide a familiar, trustworthy face to many.

The majority of street vendors are women, and many of them are Black and Brown women. Supporting vendors means furthering both gender and racial justice. Street vendors contribute to a successful, equitable California.