Mobile Food Facilities are inspected to ensure safe food handling practices, sanitation and compliance with California Health and Safety Code, just like fixed food facilities.
There are four categories of Mobile Food Facility (MFF) that can be permitted:
- Prepackaged Food Cart: A non-motorized MFF limited to the sale of 100% prepackaged foods obtained from an approved source (e.g., ice cream pushcart).
- Mobile Unit: A MFF limited to the sale of whole, uncut produce and prepackaged food products from approved sources that are shelf stable or that are temperature controlled using commercial refrigeration, freezer or hot holding cabinets
- Compact Mobile Food Operation: A cart equipped to handle open food in a manner that is restricted to food processes defined as Limited Food Preparation in Health and Safety Code (e.g., espresso, shaved ice, or hot dog carts),
- Mobile Food Preparation Unit: A MFF that is used to conduct full food preparation without cooling (e.g., food trucks, catering trucks, or trailers)
A Mobile Support Unit (MSU) is a vehicle used to service and restock a limited food preparation cart or limited food preparation MFF. MSUs require plan review and permitting like an MFF.
Are you interested in applying for a mobile food facility permit?
All mobile food facilities and mobile support units need to comply with minimum structural and equipment standards.
Prepackaged food carts and mobile food units are reviewed and inspected when applying for a health permit due to their simplicity. Compact mobile food operations and mobile food preparation units require plan review prior to eligibility for permitting. Please contact this office to schedule an inspection or your prepackaged food cart of mobile food unit.
Compact mobile food preparation operations (carts), mobile food preparation units, and mobile support units require a separate plan review process before becoming eligible for permitting because they have more structural and equipment requirements. Please use the links on the left to view our forms and documents to assist you with the submission of plans. Environmental Health provides consultation as part of the plan check process. All plan review documents can be submitted to ConsumerPlanCheck@santacruzcounty.us.
Operating permits for mobile food facilities and mobile support units are issued for the calendar year. An inspection is conducted to ensure it meets current California Retail Food Code before issuing or renewing an operating permit. Please notify us if you are inactivating your permit so that we can discontinue billing. An inactivation form is available through this link.