Food Stand Health Department Help
Meeting and maintaining local health standards for a mobile food stand is a major part of the day to day procedures. For this reason we have included much of that information as operating guidelines. For a generalized easy to read summary of health guidelines for operating a mobile food concession stand, visit the Mobile Kitchen Trailer Operations Manual on this site.
However, the exact requirements for a mobile food vending trailer vary in each different county. our exact local code requirements will have to be obtained from your County Health Department. Exact things such as how large the fresh and waste water tanks must be in a mobile food trailer and what foods can be served from a trailer are all in the codes that are specified locally.
The Health Department determines the number of sinks required in a Food Concession Trailer (shown above), materials of construction, and the training requirements for food service workers.
There is some excellent online help for operators of mobile foodconcession stands. The following is a list of some key sites that will help you to contact your local county health department, determine local codes and the permits required. Some of the sites have been included because they had excellent information for the food service business in a well laid out and easy to read and understand format.
This information is designed to help you navigate the labyrinth of information facing you as a food service vendor. Do not get discouraged. At first glance the information may seem overwhelming but it is not really that complicated or hard to understand.
The local health department wants to ensure that everyone working in the food service industry and serving food to the general public is doing this in a way that is safe.
You will need to find the specific guidelines for your region governing mobile food stand vendors including food items you are allowed to sell and the laws and health guidelines for your portion of the food industry. You will also need to contact specific personnel to apply for your health department permit, have your food trailer inspected for conformity and perhaps even take a training course in food safety (highly recommended).
Your local County Health Department determines what foods you can prepare and sell including condiments as shown above.
Federal and State web sites will give you information on laws and general guidelines on things like personal hygiene, equipment sanitation requirements, and safe food handling and preparation.
County and municipal governments actually administer the applications for permits, training and inspections for food stand vendors and their equipment. They are your primary contact and source of information.
To find specific information on mobile food concession stands on these web sites often the best thing to do is to find the A-Z index or do a search using key words or phrases such as “chip truck”; “mobile food vendor”; “itinerant food vending”; “food safety”; and “health permits”.
For Food Concession Stand Operators in the USA:
Health Guide USA
This site is a huge index of all the county health departments in every state in the USA. Use it to find the web site of your local County Health Department anywhere in the USA. First, scroll down the page and click on your State. Then scroll down on the next page to find your county Health Department listed.
FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
It’s a big site! Go the the A-Z index. Then to the “S” in the Index. It provides a list of links to all the various State health departments.
Another big site. Lots of info. Click on the button for “Federal and State Gov’t Agencies”. Then go down to the heading entitled “State and Local Gov’t Agencies”. If your state isn’t listed click on the first subheading “Overall Listing of State, County and territory Listings”. There you will find a comprehensive contact list.
Professional Food Safety
Information for foodservice professionals in 14 languages!
Food Safety Inspection Service
Excellent information on safe food handling, meat storage guidelines, and background info on the meat products you will be selling. Go to the A-Z index for a list of subjects.
FDA Center for Food Safety and Nutrition
Another large site with tons of information. Go to the “Special Interest” area in the lower right corner. Check out “Starting a Food Business”. For detailed info on laws and codes check out “Fed/State Food Programs” go to “Retail Food Protection” click on “Regulations, Codes and Code Interpretation”.
Illinois Department of Public Health
This Illinois Health Department site has some excellent info on food safety and printable charts on food temperature requirements.
For Canadian Food Stand Operators:
Canadian Federal Government Health site (Health Canada). In English or French.
Go to the A-Z index to “F”. Click on “Food Safety”, and then click on “Safe Food Handling”.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) site. In English or French.
- To find your local food health authority anywhere in Canada follow these instructions: Click on “Food” on the menu on the left, then click on “Retail Food” in the menu on the left, then click on“Restaurants / Food Services”, then click on the link to “Local Inspection Authority” that appears in the text on the main page. Scroll down to your Province and click on your “Regional Health Authority”. The page will advise you that you are leaving the Food Inspection Agency site. Click on Exit the site. It will take you to a listing of the local health departments in your province. Click on the one where you will be serving food.
- For other food related information, go to A-Z Index, and go to “F” for “Food Safety Tips”. Excellent information in easy to understand format.