This vegan burger isn’t vegan so they can Green Truck themselves

3 Oct

Green Truck
multiple trucks and locations
(310) 204-0477

Green Truck

UPDATE: 

I received an email this evening from David Holtze who claims to be the owner/operator of the Green Truck San Diego, which he says is a “separate business LLC” — this despite a shared website and a shared fax number on that website. He asks that I remove any reference to “San Diego” in my post because it is “causing harm to my business.” It seems to me that what is causing harm to his business is an association with a Green Truck in Los Angeles that is selling non-vegan vegan burgers. My post did not say that this happened in San Diego — it explicitly stated that this happened in Los Angeles.  In fact, my only reference to San Diego was in a general sentence that began “It’s hard to operate a food truck in LA (or San Diego)” and so I will remove the words “San Diego” from that sentence as a courtesy to Mr. Holtze and I will point out that he says he has served only local vegan focaccia buns since the day he has opened. I am happy to hear this since it means there is at least one Green Truck out there whose vegan burgers are actually vegan. So if you live in San Diego, go enjoy a vegan burger from his Green Truck and write him a positive review on Yelp if you like it, since he says he received a negative one tonight.

But obviously Mr. Holtze’s (vegan) beef is not with me but with the Green Truck in Los Angeles that is serving non-vegan vegan burgers. That is what is causing any perceived damage to his business. Does Mr. Holtze not realize that he shares a website with the Green Truck in Los Angeles? Does Mr. Holtze not realize that this website lists his weekly San Diego schedule alongside the weekly Los Angeles schedule? Does Mr. Holtze not realize that there is nothing to alert a visitor to this website that the Green Trucks are separately owned? And so clearly, his concern should not be directed toward this blog, but to the owner of the Green Truck in Los Angeles that is selling non-vegan vegan burgers. It seems that Mr. Holtze wants to have his vegan burger and eat it too, associating himself with Green Truck Los Angeles when it comes to a joint website, yet separating himself from Green Truck Los Angeles when there’s a problem.

Two final things to note in this update: Mr. Holtze’s buns in San Diego don’t even contain honey, and Mr. Holtze needs to stop slanderously using the word “slanderous.” Furthermore, he must immediately apologize to me at the top of the joint Green Truck website for his reckless and actionable comment that my post is causing harm to his business, and he should insist that SEPARATELY OWNED Green Truck Los Angeles apologize to the vegan community right under his apology to me, and then for heaven’s sake he should learn not to shoot the messenger!

My Original Post:

I haven’t posted in a while but this truck drove me to it. This isn’t a typical complaint about a vegan food item not being vegan. This is bigger than that. This is what appears to be an intentional fraud perpetrated on the vegan community. And it gets worse.

Back in May I went to the LA Vegan Beer Fest. It was great. Lots of vegan beer and food. Including the Green Truck. I’d heard about their Mother Trucker Vegan Burger and really wanted to try it. And I did. And it was good.

The Mother Trucker Vegan Burger is something that’s always on the menu at the Green Truck. Along with a number of meat items. But of course at the LAVBF they could only sell vegan items, so instead of their meat sandwiches they had a few different vegan offerings. But I got the Mother Trucker since I’d never had it before. And this is what it looked like:

Mother Trucker Vegan Burger at LA Vegan Beer Fest.

Mother Trucker Vegan Burger at LA Vegan Beer Fest.

It looks good, right? Well, here’s what it looked like when it was served to me today on Wilshire near LACMA:

Mother Trucker Vegan Burger. I mean "Vegan" Burger.

Mother Trucker Vegan Burger. I mean “Vegan” Burger.

If there’s one thing I can spot after 3+ years as a vegan, it’s an eggy bun. That bricohy shine gives it away every time. So I asked the two people working in the truck if the bun contained egg. The woman taking the orders said she thought so and looked at the man making the orders who said yes, he thought it did have egg. And let me say right now that both these people were extremely friendly and seemed like they wanted to do the right thing. So much so that the man making the food immediately volunteered to call the owner and ask. As I stood there, he called, he asked, and he was IMMEDIATELY told that yes, the buns contain egg. After he ended the phone call I politely said, “Okay, well then your vegan burger isn’t vegan.” And they agreed. And the man making the food offered to re-make it in a tortilla as a wrap, so I said okay, and he did, and it was tasty.

So a lot of credit goes to the people working the truck. There was no eye-rolling, they understood the problem, and they tried to rectify it. They didn’t act like they were well aware of the problem from other people asking. But maybe I’m a sucker and they knew they were selling non-vegan vegan burgers. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, because like I said, they only seemed like they wanted to help.

It’s the owner of the Green Truck who’s the piece of shit. Here is a guy who knew immediately that the buns contain egg, who knowingly markets the burger as a vegan burger to the point that the word “vegan” is in the name of the burger, and who was a vendor at LA Vegan Beer Fest, so I KNOW it was made clear to him at that time what were and weren’t permissible ingredients. Oh, and I should mention that when I asked the people working the truck if that’s the bun that the Mother Trucker Vegan Burger is always served on they both said yes.

This is unacceptable.

My first email was to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. What if people with an egg allergy are buying this burger because they think it’s vegan, but being served egg? That’s a real problem. My next email was to the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs. This seems to me to be a situation where we are knowingly being sold something that is not the thing we are told we are being sold. The third email was to the Los Angeles County Agricultural Department’s Weights & Measures Division. They are the ones who regulate consumer overcharges, farmers market fraud, etc.

As I said, it’s one thing for someone to incorrectly market a non-vegan item as vegan. It’s another for someone to knowingly pass off a non-vegan item as vegan. But it’s a whole other thing when someone participates in the LA Vegan Beer Fest, takes advantage of the publicity afforded that event to promote themselves as vegan-friendly and ingratiate themselves with the vegan community, and then turns around and does something like this.

Oh, and did I mention the emails going to the movie studios and production companies around town, since the Green Truck does a lot of their business on a catering basis at those facilities? Whoever might be thinking of hiring them or bringing them back needs to know what is going on and what their employees are being subjected to. Because if the vegan burger isn’t vegan, how do we know if the “organic” ingredients are really organic, or if the “local” ingredients are really local?

This business needs to be fully investigated by the proper authorities. And believe me, it will be now. And every single violation that is noted — such as no conspicuous litter receptacle as required by LAMC 80.73(b)2(D — will be reported. The truck extends into a red zone? It will now be photographed and reported. Oh and guess what, they were just in Santa Monica yesterday selling their non-vegan vegan burger. Were they 35 feet from the nearest truck as required by that permit? That’s another email.

It’s hard to operate a food truck in LA (<<courtesy redaction>>) even when you’re being honest with your customers. I can only imagine how hard it must be to retain your permits if there’s a steady stream of clear violations being properly documented and reported. Hmmm. Maybe it’s impossible?

9 Responses to “This vegan burger isn’t vegan so they can Green Truck themselves”

  1. Midge October 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Wow, this is fucked up. I just left them feedback on their website. We’ll see if they respond. This is so unacceptable! Vegans have been duped, but so are those who have egg allergies, which is more serious. I applaud you for taking the steps to report them. Please post any future updates.

  2. Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Great post, but are you sure they didn’t just run out of the vegan bun? I found this January 2013 menu which references the Sadie Rose Foccacia Bun http://www.greentruckonthego.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/GREEN-TRUCK-MENU_Bird-Rock-Brunch_1.10.13.pdf
    The plain SRFB is vegan according to this: http://sadierose.com/about-our-breads/#ingredients
    (Scroll down to “foccacia”)
    However, the current menu doesn’t even mention a bun http://www.greentruckonthego.com/menu/la-menu
    so maybe they are trying to say it is vegan without the bun, but obviously they should have asked if you wanted a non-vegan bun before they served it.
    My point is they clearly screwed up on this visit, but maybe it was a one time screw-up.

    • insufferablevegan October 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      Dear Anonymous, no they did not just run out of the vegan bun. At least not according to the people in the truck, who told me it is “always” served on this bun. The January, 2013 menu that you link to is for a “Bird Rock Coffee” brunch. If you google “Bird Rock Coffee” you will see it is in La Jolla, and so this is the territory of the Green Truck San Diego, who as I stated in my update above had written to me to point out that he uses “Sadie Rose Foccacia Vegan Buns” and I applaud him for that. As you will also see from my update, he contends that his business is separate from the LA business, though it’s certainly to tell that from their joint website. The problem appears to be an L.A. problem.

      • Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

        Oh – your update isn’t coming through for me, but that matches what Midge said below. Thanks

        • Midge October 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

          I’m viewing this post on my iPhone and don’t see an update either, despite refreshing the page a few times. I feel bad that the SD truck had to do some damage control for something that they didn’t do. LA truck, you need to address and fix this problem ASAP!

          • Anonymous October 4, 2013 at 3:22 am #

            The update is now visible!

  3. Midge October 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    I just received an email from David Holtz, owner of the San Diego truck, in response to the feeback I posted on Green Truck’s website about this issue. He is discussing this with the LA truck, but says his business is a totally separate LLC from LA, and that his truck has always served vegan buns from Sadie Rose Bakery in San Diego. So the issue appears to just be with the LA truck.

  4. Green Truck October 4, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Dear Insufferable Vegan,

    Our Mother Trucker Vegan Patties have been made in house with locally sourced ingredients since 2007. We do offer our patty on vegan bread, a bed of kale, or an artisanal bun that does have egg in it. This is up to the customer, as many of our customers enjoy our Mother Trucker Patty on an artisanal bun and even add bacon and cheese! Our menu supports vegans and non-vegans alike.

    Our Mother Trucker patty is 100% vegan and it is the customer’s choice as to how they wish to accompany it. No deception here. On days where we have run out of the vegan bun it is served on an artisanal bun which is listed on printed menus on the truck and is the customer’s choice if they wish to sans the bun and go with the bed of kale to ensure their meal is vegan. Our apologies if your experience was confusing. We love our local vegan community and proudly provide delicious, organic fare.

    Green Truck

    • E. King November 13, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

      The controversy has also reached Tennessee, where hopefully you don’t operate — ever. I am vegan and also CANNOT TOLERATE EGG.
      How many people do you qant to see with allergic reactions to the eggs? It isn’t pretty at all.
      “Our apologies if your experience was confusing.” CONFUSING ???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????!!!!! It’s not confusing, it’s called FRAUD, intentional, CRIMINAL, health-endangering FRAUD!
      Please shut yourselves down immediately as a result of your criminal acts, not just because you were found out. Nobody shoot the messenger.

      EGGS are NOT A VEGETABLE, and if you don’t know that, you have no business defrauding your customers or offering “Vegan” food to the public.
      PUBLIC servants, regulators, watchdogs, take note please and do your duty to protect the public from fraudsters.
      Shame on Green Truck.

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