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Food Vendor Background Checks

SHELLSBURG, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- For many small towns in Iowa, it's a familiar tune that echoes loudly, stirring up a hunger only a frozen treat can satisfy.

That simple expression of innocence is what Tim Bird is motivated to protect.

“Yeah, kids are important, and if I ever hired a pedophile I don't know what I'd do,” Bird said.

The owner of Peppy's Ice Cream, which operates nine trucks throughout eastern Iowa, teamed up with Iowa legislator Dawn Pettengill on a law he's been pushing for for 3 years.

It will make operators of food trucks and ice cream trucks subject to background checks.

“Ice cream trucks in general kind of have a bad reputation anyway, hopefully in the state of Iowa that reputation will go away,” Bird said.

The law means employers can pay for access to state and national databases, allowing for thorough checks.

“It doesn't matter how long ago you did it, I'll know,” Bird said. “Whether that's right or wrong, I can't afford to take that chance.”

However, he says he CAN afford to dish out money for the background check, saying other vendors should be willing too.

“Whether it costs you 50 or 100 or 5 bucks, the bottom line is you're protecting the kids,” Bird said. “That's what it's all about.”

Parents we spoke to agree.

“Children are usually the ones that go to them, and I think it's a good idea that we know the people inside of them are safe,” parent Teresa Lindley said.

“At least in a small town here, younger kids running around, I think it's a positive thing,” resident Dave Kearns said.

In fact, some of them question why it took so long to become law.

“With all the other issues and stuff like that, I'm truly surprised that it's not,” Kearns said.
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