New York sanitation workers were recorded while throwing away dozens of boxes of fresh food.
After being told of a street vendor who didn’t have a permit to sell at a food stall in the Bronx, the sanitation workers showed up and began dumping the fresh fruits and vegetables. As the two men were throwing the food into a rubbish truck, police officers stood by and observed the scene.
New York City officials throw street vendor's fresh food into rubbish truck pic.twitter.com/Y5P5q5ad84
— The Independent (@Independent) September 28, 2021
As Unilad reports, shortly after a crowd gathered around the stall, protesting against the workers’ actions. A man can be heard saying: “There’s people out there with no motherf*cking food.”
Diana Hernandez Cruz, the vendor whose food was negligently thrown away, has been selling at the same street-side stall for the past five years. Her produce was taken away as New York officials pledged to clamp down on people selling goods without a permit.
If found guilty, the vendor could face a fine starting at $1,000.
The deputy director of advocacy group The Street Vendor Project, Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, commented:
“These people who are trying to make an honest dollar are being fined, rather than being given the tools and opportunities to formalize their businesses in the way that they’re asking to.”
City sanitation crews are seen throwing fresh vegetables & fruit into a garbage truck after confiscating them from street vendor Diana Hernandez Cruz because she didn’t have a vendor license
— Ebro In The Morning (@EBROINTHEAM) September 27, 2021
Kaufman-Gutierez noted that the 36-year-old vendor is a single mother of three. Cruz believes the action against her was “very unfair.” She said:
“I was very indignant the day that the Department of Sanitation threw out pallets of fruits and vegetables from my stand, it was very unfair.”
Although the food taken away from a vendor is usually donated to people in need, in Cruz’s case, her produce was thrown away because a Health Department employee didn’t sign off on its safety.
Upon hearing what had happened, Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed disappointment in how the action was handled. He stated:
“I think this is a classic thing of bureaucracies not communicating and not using common sense.”
Furthermore, Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez, a Democrat who represents the area, declared:
“People are struggling every day with food insecurity. This constant battle against street vendors must end.”
— StreetVendorProject (@VendorPower) September 25, 2021