Street Food Vending as a Public Health Intervention

  • Kaniyaa Francis Department of Human Ecology, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences,
  • Catherine Brinkley University of California, Davis


The research aims to inform broader policies about healthy food access by focusing on the overlooked potential of street food vending. To reveal the spatiality and contents of street food vending regulations across Californian cities and counties, we reviewed municipal codes for all 58 counties and 213 cities in California. Recent legislation (SB 946, 2018) mandates that ordinances cannot regulate street food vendors for reasons beyond public health concerns. We found that the majority of California cities and counties are out of compliance and will need to update regulations. The majority of California cities (85% of those reviewed) and counties (75%) include street food vending regulations that go beyond public health rationale and include labor laws and restrictions on time and hours of operation. Previous studies have noted that such restrictions negatively impact the health of street food vendors while also potentially jeopardizing the health vending customers. This research highlights the need for policy change, and notes that broader legalization of street food vending offers a unique opportunity to reassess the associated health benefits reviewed in prior literature.
How to Cite
Francis, K., & Brinkley, C. (2020). Street Food Vending as a Public Health Intervention. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 18(1), 1-16.