Hanover's hot dog vendor loses license

by Kascha B. Semon | 9/28/98 5:00am

Hot-dog vendor Richard Clapp, long a Main Street fixture, is now prohibited from selling food on public property as a result of two incidents within the last year.

Clapp, whose last six-month vendor's license from the Town of Hanover expired at the end of July, was denied an extension because of the two food handling incidents which allegedly violated New Hampshire Rules for the Sanitary Production and Distribution of Food.

He had served hot dogs and snacks from his cart near Molly's Restaurant on South Main Street for 14 years.

"He's been vending outside Town Hall for a number of years, so all of us at the town had daily contact with him," Town Manager Julia Griffin said.

Hanover issues short-term and six-month licenses, Griffin said. Clapp had previously held six-month licenses.

Griffin made the decision not to extend his license after a public hearing at which Human Resource Director Barry Cox presented a case based on two letters describing violations of state food rules.

One incident involved a failure to wash hands after disposing of trash and spraying insect repellent near food, and at another time, Clapp was observed dropping a hot dog and serving it without washing his hands. The first incident occurred in October of 1997 and the second in July of this year.

According to the Valley News, Clapp had written a letter to Griffin asking for an extension on his license, saying that he is very aware of his image in front of Town Hall and would not "disappoint [Griffin] or the general population of Hanover."

"The Town cannot sanction unsanitary food handling practices by extending vending permits to businesses that have demonstrated a pattern of violation," Griffin wrote in a Sept. 10 letter to Clapp, according to the Valley News.

The Valley News reported that -Clapp admitted at the hearing that serving the hot dog was a mistake, but described the events differently.

But Griffin told Clapp, "both you and the witness acknowledged the essential facts -- that you retrieved dropped food and re-served it," and then denied renewal of Clapp's license.

Clapp could not be reached for comment.

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