Bloomberg wants letter grades posted on the city's 5,100 food carts, just as they are on its 22,541 restaurants. But the New York City Health Department -- which was marking the first anniversary of the restaurant-scoring system -- said that it was not ready to tackle the mobile eats vendors just yet.
"We may disagree on this one," Bloomberg warned the city's health commissioner, Thomas Farley, as the two men handed out another "A" to Sparks Deli in Queens on Monday, which last year became the first food joint ever to get the top mark.
The mayor added, "Personally, I would love to see, before I buy from a cart, a sign up there telling me whether or not the guy washed his hands before he reaches in and pulls out the hot dog I love to eat from street vendors."
But it did not seem like that would be happening soon.
"We can look at that, but we're not committing to that now," Farley said diplomatically.
Officials later explained that it basically came down to resources. There are 115 to 140 inspectors, but only 20 are assigned to food carts.
"Letter grading of mobile food vendors would require a number of considerations that are quite different from restaurants," the agency said. "Carts are mobile, making regular re-inspections -- such as those done at restaurants as part of grading -- more difficult."
The New York City Health Department said it planned to add handheld computers for field inspections within the next two years, allowing it to set up a new data system to address cart grades.