Mobile Food Facility Requirements: Unpackaged Foods
Unpackaged Foods
This page outlines the requirements of the Solano County Environmental Health Division regarding the sale of unpackaged food products from mobile food facilities (vehicles). As with any method of food sale, care must be taken to safely handle food products to prevent sickness or injury to the public. Any type of unpackaged food product which is handled directly or incidentally may become contaminated with disease causing organisms by contact with droplets (e.g., sneezing), hands or insects (e.g., flies). When serving unpackaged food products, it is critical that provisions be made for hand washing and protecting food and utensils from contamination.

The leading causes of food borne illness include improper hand washing, potentially hazardous foods (phf) held at improper temperatures and food from unapproved sources. These are addressed by the division's requirements to insure the consumer's food supply is as safe and sanitary as possible.

Foods allowed for sale in an unpackaged state include:
  • hot dogs
  • cappuccino and other coffee-based or cocoa-based beverages
  • frozen ice cream bars (if individually packaged until served to a customer)
  • non-potentially hazardous foods
The following is an outline of the requirements applicable to the sale of these food items from this food vehicle category:
  • Each food vehicle must have its own permit.
Food Source
All food shall be from an approved source. Home-prepared foods are not allowed. Food preparation activities such as cooking, slicing, etc. are not allowed on a vehicle. These type of activities must occur inside an approved food facility (i.e., commissary). Only operations directly associated with the sale and dispensing of the food product are allowed (e.g., assembly of a hot dog, scooping out popcorn, bagging product, adding condiments).
Temperature Control
  • Potentially hazardous food shall be kept at/or below 41 degrees F or at/or above 135 degrees F. Note: The only phf's that may be dispensed from a vehicle in an unpackaged state are hot dogs, cappuccino (and similar products) and frozen ice cream bars (under specific conditions).
  • During operation, all food is to be conveyed, held, stored, displayed, and served from the vehicle
  • When not in operation, all food products must be stored in an approved food establishment (e.g., restaurant, market, commissary, etc.). Exception: Leftover potentially hazardous foods held at/or above 135 degrees F must be discarded after each day.
  • Food, food contact surfaces and utensils must be protected from contamination at all times. Single-service utensils must be individually wrapped or in approved dispensers.
  • Food contact surfaces, including utensils, must be sanitized at the commissary as per Section 114090 of CURFFL. This requires the use of a 3-compartment sink for a wash-rinse-sanitize method.
Hand Washing and Utensil Washing
  • A minimum of a one-compartment metal sink for the purpose of handwashing and utensil washing is to be provided on the vehicle. The sink shall be large enough to accommodate the largest utensil washed. Handwashing soap and single-service towels in dispensers, and a reliable supply of hot (at least 120 degrees F) and cold (less than 101 degrees) water dispensed through a hands-free mixing-type faucet.
  • The minimum water heater capacity is at least ½ gallon. The sink, and single service soap and paper towels must be located as to be easily accessible and unobstructed for use by the operator.
  • The potable water tank and delivery system are to be constructed of approved materials, provide protection from contamination and be of a capacity equal in size with the level of food handling activity on the vehicle. The capacity of the system must be sufficient to furnish enough hot and cold water for the following: steam table (where used ), utensil washing and sanitizing, hand washing and equipment cleaning.
  • At least 5 gallons of water is to be provided exclusively for hand washing. Any water needed for other purposes is to be in addition to the 5 gallons for hand washing. The waste water tank or tanks shall have a minimum capacity that is 50% greater than the potable water tank.
  • The potable water tank inlet must be provided with a connection of a size and type that will prevent its use for any other services and constructed so that backflow and other contamination of the water supply tank is prevented.
  • Hoses used to fill potable water tanks are to be made of food grade materials and handled in a sanitary manner.
NOTE: Gloves will not be considered a substitute for a proper hand washing facility.
Operating Plan
  • A written operating procedure is to be developed and implemented for food handling and the cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils.
  • The Environmental Health Division is to review and approve this procedure prior to implementation. An approved copy must be kept on the vehicle during periods of operation.
  • Food condiments must be protected and individually prepackaged (or in approved dispensers).
Bulk Beverages
  • Bulk beverage dispensers filled at other than an approved commissary will be considered an unpackaged product.
  • Approved restroom facilities, with immediately adjacent hand washing facilities, are to be located within 200 feet of the vehicle. These facilities must be readily available for use by the operator. Hand washing facilities must be provided with a reliable supply of hot water, soap and towel dispensers.
  • All liquid waste (e.g, ice, hand washing, etc.) is to be drained to the sanitary sewer at a commissary or other approved location. Such waste is not to be discharged to the ground, storm sewers or waterways.
Waste Water Tanks
  • Waste tanks are to have one and a half times the capacity of the potable water supply (e.g. 5 gallon potable shall have a waste tank with a capacity of 7.5 gallons).
  • Vehicles equipped with a tank supplying product water for the preparation of a food or beverage are to provide an additional waste water tank capacity equal to at least 15 percent of this water supply. Additional waste water tank capacity may be required where waste water production or spillage is likely to occur.
  • Connections to a waste water tank must preclude the possibility where waste water may contaminate food, food contact surface or utensils.
  • Food compartments must completely enclose the unpackaged food products, utensils, food contact surfaces and food handling activities. The opening to the compartment is to be sized as appropriate for the food handling activity without compromising protection from contamination, and provided with tight-fitting doors, that when closed, protect interior surfaces from dust, insects and vermin.
  • Vehicles using ice in the storage, display or service (food or beverages) must provide an additional minimum waste water holding capacity equal to one third of the volume of the ice cabinet to accommodate the ice melt.
  • When potentially hazardous food is to be held cold, commercial refrigeration units must be provided. Ice chests are not allowed for the storage of phf.
  • Vehicles must operate out of an approved commissary. A "COMMISSARY" means a permitted food establishment (e.g., a restaurant, market, etc.) in which food, containers, or supplies are stored or handled for use. A commissary is not a private home, church, private club, or other nonprofit or for-profit association. The commissary is to comply with all provision applicable to food establishments and be used for storage, food preparation, cleaning, etc. Click here to obtain a commissary form.
  • All equipment (including carts) must be commercial food grade equipment complying with applicable NSF and CURFFL requirements. Equipment must be constructed so as to be smooth, durable and easily cleanable. Note: Painted or varnished wood is not an acceptable construction material.
Gas and Electrical Equipment
  • All new and replacement gas-fired appliances shall meet applicable American Gas Association standards. All new and replacement electrical appliances shall meet applicable Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) standards.
Identification Lettering
  • The name of the facility, city, state, zip code, and name of the permittee must be permanently placed on at least two sides of the vehicle. Lettering is to be legible, clearly visible, and of a color contrasting with the vehicle exterior. The name must be in letters at least 3" high with strokes of at least 3/8"width. Letters and numbers for address and telephone number are to be at least 1" high.
Cappuccino and Frozen Ice Cream Bars
  • Cappuccino, espresso, etc., must be made to order and immediately served to the customer.
  • Frozen ice cream bars may be served packaged if kept individually prepackaged and unpacked only for immediate serving.