SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department has announced an outreach and education program that partners with the Code Enforcement Division in an effort to crack down on the city’s unlicensed vendors. As the summer advances and more citizens are drawn to the beach, the city is worried that the number of vendors may pose a serious public health threat.

Authorities warn that vendors selling meats, fruits, and ice cream are often delivered under questionable or unsanitary conditions and that many vendors lack potable water to wash their hands or utensils. Food items have been known to be kept unrefrigerated or at unsafe temperature heightening the risk of food borne pathogens and illnesses.

The program aims to inform the public and discourage vendors from participating in these harmful practices through education, as well as stepped up enforcement which includes the issuance of citations, the arrest of repeat offenders and confiscation of equipment.

According to the CDC, each year one in six Americans get sick from tainted or contaminated food or beverage and an average 3,000 people die as a result.