Requirements for Equipment and Structure of Mobile Vendor Units*
The purpose of this document is to provide a guideline for the design and construction of mobile vendor units in order to assist applicants with compliance.
A complete listing of regulatory requirements for mobile vendors is available in the Regulations Governing the Sanitation of Food Establishments, Chapter 10.
The application and plan review process is outlined on the plan review process webpage.
Food Service Trailer means a mobile food unit designed to be towed on public roads, and having an enclosed area for storage, handling, or preparation of food, and permitted as mobile food units as a full service coach.
Frozen Product Sales/Delivery Mobile Unit means a pick-up truck or similar vehicle with either a built-on or slide-in prefabricated freezer unit, or a canopy with a freezer inside for the delivery of pre-packaged food to designated addresses. No open food handling or door-to-door sales is allowed.
Full Service Coach means a mobile unit, including food service trailers, in which food, including PHF (TCS), may be stored, prepared, cooked, and/or served.
Mobile Unit means any properly enclosed vehicle in which food, beverages, frozen desserts or dairy products and mixes are prepared, processed, or converted for human consumption, and which is used to sell and dispense food and beverages to customers. The term includes full service “hot” trucks and limited service “ice cream” trucks. The term does not include a pushcart or any portable unit for the service of food.
Pre-Packaged Frozen Novelty Truck means a mobile unit, in which approved menu items are restricted to low-risk food that may include pre-packaged, non-PHF (TCS) or low-risk food, including but not limited to frozen confections, sodas, chips, and candies.
Self Service Pre-Packaged Food Truck means a mobile unit from which customers serve themselves pre-packaged food.
Commissary means a fixed non-mobile food establishment for the storage and preparation of food to be sold or served at or by a portable unit for service of food, catering operation, mobile food vendors, farmers’ markets, and annual itinerants. A commissary may also serve as a servicing depot for the servicing and cleaning of equipment. A commissary shall be approved by the health authority or agency of jurisdiction as part of the permit application and inspection process for a food establishment.
Servicing Depot means a facility approved by the health authority or agency of jurisdiction for cleaning, disposing of liquid and solid wastes, and refilling of water tanks of mobile food vendors. A servicing depot may be a large mobile unit if it has been approved by the health authority or agency of jurisdiction and meets the requirements of these regulations. If food is to be stored, the facility shall be designated as a commissary, not a servicing depot.
Commissary/Servicing Depot Requirements
All mobile vending units must operate from either a commissary or servicing depot, or both, as a required component of their health permit.
The commissary for a frozen product sales/delivery mobile unit and pre-packaged frozen novelty truck unit must meet the minimum requirements for a refrigerated/frozen storage facility, including NSFI or equivalent freezer, refrigerators, walk-in boxes; a restroom with hot/cold service, soap & towels, mop-sink, adequate lighting and vermin control.
Boxes of product may not be broken down until transferred into the mobile unit (see food service warehouse requirements). If a frozen product sales/delivery mobile-unit company handles open food products at the commissary, such a commissary must meet the full requirements for a food service kitchen as outlined in food establishments – general requirements.
The commissary for a self service pre-packaged food truck must meet the minimum requirements for a refrigerated/frozen storage facility, including NSFI or equivalent freezer, refrigerators, walk-in boxes; a restroom with hot/cold service, soap & towels, mop-sink, adequate lighting and vermin control.
Boxes of product may not be broken down until transferred into the mobile unit (see food service warehouse requirements). If a self service pre-packaged food truck company handles open food products at the commissary (such as making, labeling and packaging sandwiches), such a commissary must also meet the full requirements for a food service kitchen as outlined in food establishments – general requirements.
The commissary for a food service trailer or full service coach must meet the full requirements for a food service kitchen as outlined in food establishments – general requirements, as well as the requirements for a servicing depot as outlined below:
- A room large enough to accommodate a mobile unit, with properly constructed walls, ceiling and floors, and proper ventilation and lighting shall be provided at a servicing depot for cleaning mobile units.
- Floors shall be properly sloped and drained to a sanitary sewer.
- Servicing depots are required to have equipment commensurate with the type of food that is being stored during the mobile unit’s servicing. Food holding areas shall be separated from cleaning areas with partitions or other distinguishable barriers.
- There shall be a hose sufficient for washing a mobile unit at a servicing depot, and a facility to store the hose off the ground, to prevent contamination.
- There shall be a sufficient amount of steam or hot water, at a temperature of at least 170°F±2°, to properly sanitize the mobile unit and equipment that is not sanitized with chemical disinfectants.
- There shall be adequate ventilation to prevent the accumulation of vapors, fumes, or mists during the cleaning and sanitization processes.
- There shall be an approved three-compartment sink.
- There shall be adequate drainage and grease collection capacities, as required by the agency of jurisdiction and the health authority, to prevent food debris and excessive grease from entering the sanitary sewer system or storm drains.
- There shall be a restroom, with at least one toilet and one hand washing sink, plumbed with hot and cold running water, stocked with toilet paper, liquid soap, paper towels, and a covered trash receptacle as specified in chapter 6-202.14 of the regulations. This restroom shall be accessible to anyone working within the commissary or servicing depot.
Mobile Unit General Requirements
The following information shall be provided at the time the plans for all mobile units are submitted:
- The vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle used for the mobile unit.
- The license plate number and state of issuance of the vehicle used for the mobile unit.
- A description of markings specific to each mobile unit. The vehicle shall have the name, along with either the address or the phone number, of the vendor visible from both sides of the unit.
- A letter of intent which describes:
- The menu for the mobile unit.
- The methods and equipment to be used for cooking, cooling, and holding of food.
- Methods for preparing and handling food when prepared on the mobile unit.
- A signed letter of agreement with the commissary or servicing depot outlining the services provided to the mobile unit which shall include a copy of the commissary or servicing depot’s health permit. An address for the location of the vehicle, when not parked at the commissary or servicing depot, shall be provided to the health authority.
- Any other information requested by the health authority, during the plan review process, which is necessary to determine the scope of the food establishment operations.
Mobile Unit Type-Specific Requirements
Frozen Products Sales/Delivery Mobile Units shall be equipped with an NSF/ANSI standard #7 third-party sanitation-certified freezer unit. The unit compressor shall be capable of operating from a converter, or other approved method of mechanical refrigeration, at all times when the vehicle is running. The freezer unit shall be enclosed with an approved thermometer readable from outside the unit.
Pre-Packaged Frozen Novelty Trucks shall meet the following structural, equipment, and plan review requirements:
- An individual shall be able to stand upright inside of the unit.
- The service shall be from the inside to the outside via service openings with a maximum of two openings, no larger than 18 inches square, with either hinged or slider windows.
- The inside finishes of the vehicle shall be light in color, and smooth and easily cleanable.
- Walls and ceilings shall be light in color with smooth and easily cleanable surfaces.
- Floors shall be of metal or commercial grade linoleum.
- The ventilation and/or air conditioning system(s) used within the vehicle shall be able to maintain the interior ambient temperature within the testing limit temperature range of the refrigeration equipment.
- An NSF/ANSI standard #7 third-party sanitation-certified freezer unit, with a compressor capable of operating off appropriately sized converter, or other approved method of mechanical refrigeration, at all times when the vehicle is running. Dry ice is prohibited from use in a mobile unit.
Self-Service Pre-Packaged Food Trucks shall meet the following structural, equipment, and plan review requirements:
- Doors/covers shall be tight fitting to protect the unit from inclement weather and effectively exclude dust, dirt, and vermin.
- The outside of the unit shall be of metal or fiberglass construction equivalent to or exceeding NSF/ANSI standards for construction and materials.
- The interior of cabinet units or compartments shall be constructed of food-grade materials, and have smooth, easily accessible and easily cleanable surfaces, with at least 1/8 horizontal and vertical coves, free from channels, crevices, flanges, ledges, sharp or jagged edges, or other cleaning obstructions.
- Surfaces shall be constructed of a solid material including but not limited to stainless steel. The surfaces shall be free of pits, cracks, rust, and other obstructions that would interfere with proper cleaning. Wood surfaces are not allowed.
- Units shall have third-party sanitation-certified mechanical refrigeration for all potentially hazardous food, with ice used only as a supplement to refrigeration.
- Coffee prepared at approved establishments permitted by the health authority, as the base of operations, may be sold from an approved commercial third-party sanitation-certified dispenser.
- A description of the type of equipment that will be used to dispense paper cups, stirring sticks, spoons, straws, sugar, dried creamer, or pre-packaged condiments. Paper cups, stirring sticks, spoons, straws, sugar, dried creamer, etc. Used at a mobile unit shall be contained in an approved dispenser that effectively protects the interior and the lip of the cup from dust and handling.
- Provisions for proper disposal and storage of solid waste within the mobile unit and outside of the mobile unit for customer use.
- Receptacles shall be lined with properly sized disposable plastic liners.
In addition to the above requirements, food handling from outside a self-service pre-packaged food truck, shall be limited to the preparation of espresso, specialty coffees, and related beverages provided that:
- The unit contains an NSF/ANSI or equivalent certified hand washing sink serviced with tempered or hot/cold water under pressure, and soap and towels with splash guards, as specified in section 10-203.18 (J) of this chapter.
- The unit contains an NSF/ANSI or equivalent certified three-compartment sink with integral drain boards and serviced with hot and cold water under pressure.
- The unit contains adequate safeguards to protect food from contamination during service and while in transit.
- The unit has 35-foot candles of light on the preparation, hand washing sink, and three-compartment sink surfaces.
- The unit contains a 15-gallon fresh water supply, a water heater that provides no less than 10 gallons per hour of 120°F±2° hot water, and a waste water tank that is at least 15 percent larger than the combined capacity of fresh and hot water tanks, and meets the requirements as specified in section 10-203.18 (K) of the regulations.
- The commissary for such a unit shall meet the requirements of a full service kitchen and shall meet all requirements as specified in the regulations.
Food Service Trailers and Full Service Coach Mobile Units shall have minimum kitchen standards apply as provided in food service establishment plan review requirements for equipment & facilities, including hot and cold water sources, hand washing sinks, three-compartment sinks, cooking, heating and refrigeration equipment, ventilation, and interior finishes.
These mobile units shall comply with all applicable requirements of these regulations. Specific requirements are:
- The unit shall be fully enclosed and tall enough on the inside to stand upright, 6 feet minimum height.
- Service openings shall be no larger than 18 inches square and located away from open food to protect the food from contamination. Service openings shall be hinged or designed to slide open, and remain open only while food and beverages are being served. If service openings are not self-closing fly fans shall be installed.
- Doors to the outside shall be self-closing.
- There shall be a partition or dividing wall between the food preparation and the driver’s cab areas of the mobile unit.
- Floors shall be of impervious material, smooth and easily cleanable, with coved, watertight junctures. Walls and ceilings shall be light colored, with smooth, easily cleanable material.
- Ventilation shall be sufficient to prevent the unnecessary opening of doors and service windows. Cooking appliances generating grease-laden vapors shall have an NSF/ANSI or equivalent ducted, grease-baffle hood with a fire suppression system installed and certified by an appropriate authority.
- 50-foot candles of light shall be provided on food-contact surfaces with all light fixtures properly shielded.
- Refrigeration, cooking, and hot-holding equipment shall be NSF/ANSI or equivalent. Plan submissions shall include:
- The type, number, and location(s) of refrigeration and/or hot holding display units placed on the vehicle.
- An adequate number of refrigeration units large enough to store safely all cold PHF (TCS) at a temperature of 41°F±2° or below.
- All equipment placed on a mobile unit must be third-party certified the appropriate NSF/ANSI sanitation standard.
- Cooking equipment may be powered using either vehicle electrical power or propane.
- Hot holding units may be operated using either vehicle electrical power or propane.
- A three-compartment sink is required and shall have integral drain boards. The three-compartment sink shall be large enough to accommodate all utensils and kitchenware and shall have hot and cold water under adequate pressure. Hot water shall be maintained at 120°F±2°. The faucets shall reach all bays of the sink.
- A separate hand washing sink is required with hot/cold, tempered/cold, or tempered only potable water that is delivered through a mixing faucet. The minimum size is 10”x10” with a minimum depth of 6 inches and a 12 inch clearance above the sink.
- If the hand washing sink is located within 18 inches of a food preparation surface, or the dish washing area, there shall be a 12 inch high waterproof splash guard installed between the hand washing sink and the dish washing sink and/or food preparation area. At all times the hand washing sink shall be fixed in place, accessible and uncovered. No cutting board or drain board shall be placed or permanently installed over the hand washing sink.
- The hand washing sink shall be located between 30 and 42 inches above the floor in the food preparation area.
- There shall be a minimum 40 gallon fresh water tank. The water heater shall provide no less than 22 gallons per hour of 120°F±2° hot water.
- Water supply shall be protected from contamination and back-siphonage, and shall fill and drain via RV-type fixtures.
- There shall be a minimum of a 46 gallon waste water tank that is 15 percent larger than the combined capacities of the tanks holding the water supply. Water fixtures and tanks shall meet the following requirements:
- Water pumps must be third-party sanitation-certified to NSF/ANSI demand-type unit. Manually operated water pumps are prohibited.
- The water and waste water tanks shall be rigid, durable, and easily cleanable. Collapsible tanks are not allowed. Tanks shall be sloped to drain and shall have capacity indicators.
- The mobile unit is not allowed to hook up to water or sewer anywhere except at their approved commissary or servicing depot.
- The water inlet shall be removable, made of flexible copper pipe or other approved tubing, and equipped with an approved vacuum breaker or nozzle for connecting a potable water-grade hose.
- There shall be a water tank cap available so the tank may be capped when not in use.
- The water filler hoses shall be clearly and permanently identified, used only for their intended purposes, and hung with the ends connected or covered when stored. Hoses connected to potable water shall meet the requirements as specified in chapter 5 -302.16 of the regulations.
- A vacuum breaker shall be installed on the water tap at the commissary or servicing depot.
- If compressed air is used to pressurize the water tank system, a filter that does not pass oil or oil vapors shall be installed in the air supply line between the compressor and drinking water system.
- The inlet and outlet shall be located to prevent contamination from the discharge of waste, dust from the road, oil, or grease.
- The waste water tank drain shall be at least one inch in diameter with a shut-off valve.
- Waste water tanks with an outlet for overflow are prohibited.
- The type and location of any pressurized tanks or cylinders used in the vehicle, including but not limited to carbon dioxide for beverages, or propane for heating or cooking require that:
- All tanks and cylinders fasten securely to the units.
- Liquid petroleum be installed and maintained to meet local fire department standards and other applicable laws.
- Pressurized cylinders be installed in a compartment separate from the burner and be vented to the outside.
- The type and location of ventilation equipment require that:
- Ventilation shall be sufficient to eliminate the need to have the service window open for cooling when not otherwise in use to serve food or beverages. Cooking appliances generating grease-laden vapors shall have an NSF/ANSI or equivalent ducted, grease baffle hood with a fire suppression system.
- A ventilation and/or air conditioning system within the mobile unit shall be capable of maintaining the internal ambient temperature within the testing limits of the refrigeration equipment.
- Provisions shall be made for proper disposal and storage of solid waste, both within and outside of the mobile unit, for customer use ensuring that:
- Receptacles are maintained clean so as not to create a nuisance.
- All receptacles are lined with properly sized disposable plastic liners.