Kern health officials focus on food safety from mobile vendors

County officials discuss a food safety awareness campaign that focuses on mobile vendors May 15, 2017 in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

The Kern County Public Health Services Department is launching a food safety awareness campaign that focuses on mobile vendors.

Officials on Monday discussed a new billboard campaign and a new feature on the Safe Diner app.

This new feature allows people to report unlicensed mobile food vendors selling without a green sticker.

"A food vendor without a health permit likely does not have these safeguards in place, and the food presents a potential safety hazard," said Matt Constantine, director of the Kern County Public Health Department.

Last year, there were more than 890 food vendors selling without a permit, and already this year there have been upwards of 290 complaints.

Unlicensed vendors put people at risk for food-borne illnesses.

"There is about 48 million Americans who get sick from eating unsafe food every year in the United States. That's one in every six Americans," said Constantine.

To bring that number down, the Public Health Department tracks down vendors who are operating without a license. If a vendor is caught selling without a permit, they are subject up to a $2,000 fine.

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