QCOSTARICA – Legislators approved on Monday, in first debate, with 41 votes in favor, a bill that requires a set of structural and legal operation requirements for the operation of “food trucks”.
Among other things, the bill makes it clear that these businesses must have permits from the Ministry of Health and the municipality where they operate.
The vehicles will have to have all the minimum characteristics that guarantee their responsible operation and the care of their clients, such as lavatories or cooling units for perishable foods; while staff must have a food handling course with a Ministry of Health certificate in the case of food sales.
The bill also makes it clear that these vehicles will not be able to operate on national routes or areas where parking is prohibited, nor within 100 meters of authorized shops that offer the same products.
It is an initiative of the PLN legislator Daniel Ulate Valenciano, called Ley de Comercio sobre Ruedas (Commerce on Wheels Law).
In addition, a sanitary operating permit from the respective governing area of the Ministry of Health, operators must also carry a work risk insurance policy, register the business with the Ministry of Finance (to pay taxes) and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) for worker contributions, as well as a permit for the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), except non-food sales.
In addition, the truck must have a wastewater storage tank, a drinking water tank, a portable sink for users, natural ventilation through windows and grilles, internal lighting of 500 lux, and, from 6 pm, also external lighting.
Additionally, they are required to separate the solid waste generated and classify it according to its type, for proper disposal authorized by the Ministry of Health.
The owners of a shop on wheels are required to have in the shop, or through a third party, bathrooms for workers and for the general public and are prohibited from throwing food waste or any type of garbage on public roads, disposing of wastewater in the curb, or blocking the way of passers-by with their food trucks.
In the case of the terms of permits, it will be up to the respective municipal councils.
According to Daniel Ulate, the initiative seeks to regulate the “new model” to provide “legal certainty, not only for the end user, but for all those entrepreneurs.”
Ley de Comercio sobre Ruedas is not limited to just food. Other activities on wheels can be a beauty salon, barbershop, clothing sales, and more.
“In times of crisis, similar to a war economy like the one we are experiencing, with historical unemployment and underemployment, it is necessary to facilitate, make more flexible and order the different commercial activities to boost the economy and provide Costa Ricans with real options to get ahead,” the legislator states.
The bill will be voted on in second and final debate next Monday, March 28. If approved, it will pass into the hands of the Executive Power and be published in La Gaceta. The government will then be responsible for enacting regulations within 12 months of the law going into effect.
Read here the full text of file 22282.