Street vendors in Paris sell food stored in sewers: report

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Street vendors in Paris sell food stored in sewers: report

Martina Rigoli/Ian.CuiYi/Getty Images

  • Street vendors in Paris have been discovered hoarding food in the city’s sewers, according to Le Parisien.
  • Several videos show vendors putting items in and out of the ground.
  • The deputy mayor of Paris said tourists should be particularly cautious of these sellers.

Street vendors in Paris were caught hoarding food in the city’s sewers, local newspaper Le Parisien reported in October.

These crepe and sandwich sellers were discovered storing ingredients in manholes along the Champ-de-Mars, near the Eiffel Tower, according to the report.

“Many use frozen dough stored in questionable conditions. To mask the smell and the rancid taste, they sprinkle it with vanilla sugar,” a seller explained to Le Parisien. The seller was not identified in the report.

A video published by Le Parisien shows several clips of people removing bags containing food from sewer accesses and electric grills. One clip showed a man placing a bucket underground and walking towards a food cart. SamaGame could not independently verify the authenticity of the clips.

Pancake batter and other types of food, including meat and drinks, were also found stored in manholes, hatches and air vents, reports Le Parisien, citing a resident of the 7th arrondissement , a wealthy neighborhood where the Eiffel Tower is located. The food is then reheated and put on sale, according to the report citing another local resident.

Frank Delvau, president of the Union of Hotel Trades and Industries of Paris and Ile-de-France, said sellers posed a risk to public health, stressing that they had no means to wash your hands, according to Le Parisien. Some were seen selling “rotten goods, bottles of water filled from the tap,” Delvau said.

Delvau said food stands are not often licensed. Many sellers themselves are undocumented and exploited by criminal organizations, he explained.

They also constitute unfair competition for licensed local restaurants that “pay rent, fees and have to deal with inspections from hygiene regulators,” Delveau said.

“We are about a year away from the Olympics, and if we do nothing, it will become a real illegal food market around the Eiffel Tower,” said David Zenouda, vice-president of the Union of Trades and Industries of the hotel industry of Paris and the European Union. Ile-de-France, declared to Le Parisien.

Nicolas Nordman, deputy mayor of Paris, told Le Parisien that he was aware of the dangers these sellers represent, particularly for visitors to the city.

“We must warn potential consumers, often tourists, of the dangerousness of the products sold, because it is a real public health problem,” he declared.

Rachida Dati, mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris, told Le Parisien that the city had started to crack down on these unsanitary practices.

“At each intervention, the police seize and destroy 30 kg of goods. During the week of September 11 to 16, they seized 380 bottles of water, 50 of wine, 200 of beer and 90 ears of corn,” she said.

The Paris police chief, Laurent Nuñe, raised the possibility of putting an end to street vending before the 2024 Olympic Games. “We will of course have completely eradicated the phenomenon of street vending, fortune-telling and other activities delinquents,” Nuñe said, according to Euronews.

The incident comes after an American tourist visiting in August expressed concerns about the rat infestation in Paris. And in September, the French capital announced that it was facing a major bedbug infestation.

Nordman and Dati did not immediately respond to a request for comment from SamaGame, sent outside of normal business hours.

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Nicholas Ross

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