New regulations in Birmingham, AL set higher standards for food trucks operating in that community – namely that they must obtain permits from the local health department. The regulations, on the books since January 1 of this year, have also had the unintended consequence of preventing at least one church from distributing food to homeless city residents.

An ABC affiliate recently filed a report, stating that Birmingham church Lords House of Prayer has been barred by the police from delivering food to the homeless residents of the city's Linn Park. Minister Rick Wood said the police told him he could no longer distribute food unless he had both a food truck and the proper permit.

According to the report, the new food truck requirements were put in place to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants from having their customers poached by food trucks, which have the advantages of lower overhead and portability. While the stoppage of Minister Wood's charitable food delivery seems to be an unforeseen byproduct, there's no word yet as to the city providing special dispensation for non-profit or religious organizations. Follow on below for the full video report from ABC 33/40.
ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports


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  • 41 Comments
      Making11s
      • 9 Months Ago
      A move by government that was brought about by industry lobbyists that has harmful unintended consequences? Surely you jest.
      BipDBo
      • 9 Months Ago
      "According to the report, the new food truck requirements were put in place to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants from having their customers poached by food trucks, which have the advantages of lower overhead and portability." So the intent behind this law was not for consumer safety. It was to put more red tape and expense in front of one type of business (food trucks) in order to help reduce this competition for the benefit of another type of business (brick & mortar restaurants). This is BS, bad legislation. This is not free market, but rather a small example of the lobbyist-market, that has infected our economy. The brick and mortar restaurant should charge more for their food, with the benefit to the customer of having an air conditioned place to sit down. Both brick & mortar and portable establishments should have to comply with the same necessary levels of oversight to assure consumer safety. Beyond that is harmful governmental intrusion. CUT THE FAT! BTW, I have not failed to see the parallel between this and Tesla's direct sales model.
        Andrew Pappas
        • 9 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        I largely agree...but at a point, a food truck is very transient. If restaurants close shop, then food trucks could leave and you are left with an area of blight. I'm not saying it's right to put roadblocks ahead of innovation to protect the old guard, but cities need to look at the long game. Oh, and the ready fix to this problem is to make a non-profit exception to the law.
          Jarda
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Andrew Pappas
          No. Remedy to this problem is not YET ANOTHER LAW WITH YET ANOTHER EXCEPTIONS, the remedy is not to let government stick its dirty stinkin snout into every fkin aspect of fkin everything.
        jesscott
        • 9 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        I agree. When legislation is put in place to mess with free markets then it;s just the government being thugs and building walls for the groups that get them elected. More regulation and red tape gets us nothing....unintended consequences should the the name of the capital bldg in DC.
          rjstanford
          • 9 Months Ago
          @jesscott
          Requiring people who pass out food - regardless of the sign on the door - to provide a minimum level of cleanliness and safety is exactly the sort of thing that a good local government should do. Feeding people out of a truck shouldn't exempt anyone from meeting the same cleanliness standards that other restaurants do.
          rjstanford
          • 9 Months Ago
          @jesscott
          Requiring people who pass out food - regardless of the sign on the door - to provide a minimum level of cleanliness and safety is exactly the sort of thing that a good local government should do. Feeding people out of a truck shouldn't exempt anyone from meeting the same cleanliness standards that other restaurants do.
      Jarda
      • 9 Months Ago
      Government helpipng somewhere no one asked it. And as a bonus doing additional harm. What is new?
        Making11s
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Jarda
        Restaurants got together and had them do this, as they have been doing in other cities.
        Bernard
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Jarda
        They're just following the orders of their lobbyist masters.
        Kumar
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Jarda
        Yep, a suburb of Indianapolis is getting ready to do the same thing.
      GoSpeedRacerGo
      • 9 Months Ago
      This is auto-related news? Surely Autoblog can dig up something a little more relevant or interesting than this?
        always_busy
        • 9 Months Ago
        @GoSpeedRacerGo
        It was so uninteresting that you clicked on the article and made a comment.
      throwback
      • 9 Months Ago
      ".food truck requirements were put in place to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants from having their customers poached by food trucks" Are homeless people really customers of brick and mortar restaurants?
        wilkegm
        • 9 Months Ago
        @throwback
        No, in fact they aren't food "customers" at all. If the regulation is written properly, it should NOT apply to those giving away food, only those who sell it.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @throwback
        [blocked]
      jonnybimmer
      • 9 Months Ago
      If the issue were as simple as ensuring food trucks meet health regulations (meaning amount of the permits issued would be unlimited; if you pass, you get a permit and that's that) then this would be great. It's too easy for food trucks to become an environment festering with bugs, spoiled ingredients and disease/bacteria so keeping a watchful eye on those health risks is definitely a benefit for everyone. But using it as a tool to limit a new "threat" of competition, as it appears to be in this case, is unacceptable. Ironically, these type of laws (like those impeding Tesla's direct sales) are often backed by those who claim they want smaller government.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 9 Months Ago
      Not sure why anyone would want to feed homeless people in the first place. They're a bunch of peasant riffraff. They are homeless because they were either too lazy to get a job or too damn STUPID. It is NOBODY's problem but their's that they are homeless. If we allowed Darwin's theories to play out in human society instead of red-taping them, then these homeless people would die off. We wouldn't have to look at them in disgust, hear them whine, or smell them, and the world would be better off with less riffraff.
        G37S
        • 9 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Sadly most homeless are made up of people with mental health issues. They slip through the cracks of the Health System,become burdens on family and friends to the point that their support system cracks from the pressure,and the person ends up with no help living on the streets. If Darwin's theories played out in real life human society,only the sociopaths would survive.
        OptimusPrimeRib
        • 9 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Also a lot of the homeless are made up of military vets that the system just shoved aside. Especially those with PTSD. The government got what they wanted out of them and cast them off to be forgotten and without the proper treatment they can't exist normally as a regular civilian.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        [blocked]
        G37S
        • 9 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Sadly most homeless are made up of people with mental health issues. They slip through the cracks of the Health System,become burdens on family and friends to the point that their support system cracks from the pressure,and the person ends up with no help living on the streets. If Darwin's theories played out in real life human society,only the sociopaths would survive.
      Klep
      • 9 Months Ago
      As a Birmingham resident, my reaction to seeing this article was "Ooo! We're on AutoBlo-oh... aw, damnit." Alabama's legislative ineptitude strikes again.
      xenigo
      • 9 Months Ago
      The only difference between a for-profit and a non-profit is the profits within a non-profit go to the Director and staff. You can run a business that generates just as much revenue as your typical corporation as a non-profit... you just have to re-invest the profits. The point I'm making is that the money is there. There is literally no reason to exclude churches from regulatory compliance. They are not poor... they have a huge financial advantage in that they do not pay taxes. Let's put them on an equal plane.
        Jake
        • 9 Months Ago
        @xenigo
        I don't think that you fully understand what you are talking about. I live in Texas and my church has a Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck. The food and labor are all just volunteers getting together, preparing food and taking it to the homeless areas. This isn't some high profile non-profit. It is just people at a church trying to be Christians and looking to help their neighbors. There is no judging or looking down on people or whatever... it is just bringing food to hungry people.
      OptimusPrimeRib
      • 9 Months Ago
      But I thought Republicans were against regulations and all about Jesus?
        viggen
        • 9 Months Ago
        @OptimusPrimeRib
        You are incredibly uninformed. The city of Birmingham is controlled by democrats and has been for some time -- thus the increase in crime, taxes, etc... The mayor is an intellectual lightweight -- visit his webiste and count the number of mis-spelled words...
      jebibudala
      • 9 Months Ago
      You people voted for these politicians that create these laws. Maybe now think about becoming a libertarian? If I was a republican or democrat I'd probably just say everyone hates poor people.
      Bernard
      • 9 Months Ago
      This is moronic. They didn't think to add an exemption for non-profits? They need to fix that omission.
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