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Environmental Health

Food Safety Program: Mobile Food Facilities

Operational Requirements for All Mobile Food Facilities (MFF)

The California Retail Food Code provides the authority for these requirements.

All food handlers shall wash their hands with liquid soap and warm water often, including before starting work, after going to the restroom, and during work after:

  • Handling raw food
  • Touching hair, face or body parts
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Smoking
  • Eating or drinking
  • Taking out of garbage
  • Touching anything that may contaminate hands

Note: Gloves shall be worn when employees have cuts, sores, rashes, artificial nails, nail polish and rings. The use of tobacco in any form is prohibited within Mobile Food Facility. Fingernails must be kept clean and trimmed.

All food handlers shall wear clean outer garments at all times while engaged in handling food, utensils or food contact equipment.

Food handler shall wear hair restraints like a hairnet or cap.

Hot and cold water shall be supplied to the hand washing sink and warewashing sink. The minimum water temperature for MFF conducting warewashing is 120°F. For MFFs using hand washing sink only, a minimum of 100°F is required.

All cold, potentially hazardous foods shall be maintained at 41°F or below and hot foods maintained at 135°F or above. All foods held at 135°F or above on the MFF shall be destroyed at the end of the operating day.

An accurate thermometer shall be provided to facilitate checking of food temperatures.

All foods shall be manufactured, produced, prepared, stored, kept for sale and served so as to be pure and free from adulteration and spoilage; shall have been obtained from an approved source and shall be protected from dirt, vermin, unnecessary handling, droplet contamination and overhead leakage.

Condiments shall be prepackaged or placed in approved dispensing devices.

All potable water tanks and waste water tanks shall be thoroughly flushed and sanitized during the servicing operations.

Cleaning supplies and wiping cloths shall be stored in an area away from all food and food equipment.

Any discharge of wastewater onto the surface of the ground is strictly prohibited. Waste tank outlets shall be maintained closed or tightly capped and shall be maintained in good repair. All waste water generated by the vehicle shall be disposed using approved equipment/connections at an approved commissary or at an approved facility.

The hose used to fill-up the potable water tank shall be food grade, not contact the ground, and protected against any kind of contamination.

Operational Requirements for Unenclosed Mobile Food Facilities Selling Prepackaged Foods

All food items shall be from an approved source.

Mobile facilities handling prepackaged, potentially hazardous foods like cold sandwiches shall maintain the temperature of foods at or below 41°F by using an approved mechanical refrigeration unit.

Foods can be prepared and packaged only in an approved commissary or approved food facility.

Operational Requirements for Unenclosed Mobile Facilities with Limited Food Preparation

Limited food preparation means food preparation that is restricted to one or more of the following:

  • Heating, frying, baking, roasting, popping, shaving of ice, blending, steaming or boiling of hot dogs, or assembly of non-prepackaged food.
  • Dispensing and portioning of non-potentially hazardous food.
  • Holding, portioning and dispensing of any foods that are prepared for satellite by the onsite permanent food facility or prepackaged by another approved source.
  • Slicing and chopping of food on a heated cooking surface during the cooking process.
  • Cooking and seasoning to order.
  • Preparing beverages that are for immediate service, in response to an individual consumer order, that do not contain frozen milk products.

Limited food preparation does not permit any of the following actions:

  • Slicing and chopping unless it is on the heated cooking surface.
  • Thawing.
  • Cooling of cooked potentially hazardous food.
  • Grinding raw ingredients or potentially hazardous foods.
  • Reheating of potentially hazardous foods for hot holding, except for steamed or boiled hot dogs and tamales in the original, inedible wrapper.
  • Hot holding of non-prepackaged, potentially hazardous food, except for roasting corn on the cob, steamed or boiled hot dogs, and tamales in the original, inedible wrapper.
  • Washing of foods.
  • Cooking of potentially hazardous foods for later use.

All potentially hazardous foods shall be cooked to order.

All raw ingredients shall be peeled, sliced, chopped or otherwise prepared in advance at the commissary or any approved food facility.

Food handling shall be conducted within an approved food compartment. This requirement applies also to MFF3.

Operational Requirements for Enclosed Mobile Food Facilities with Full Food Preparation

Full food preparation shall be conducted within the fully enclosed mobile food facility.

All potentially hazardous foods shall be maintained at 135°F or above (for hot foods) or 41°F or below (for cold foods). Foods kept at 135°F or above shall be destroyed at the end of the day and may not be reserved for the next day.
An accurate thermometer shall be provided to facilitate the checking of food temperatures.

Do not add newly cooked food to food already held in hot-holding equipment.

Properly thaw foods using one or a combination of the following ways:

  • Under refrigeration that maintains food temperature at 41°F or below.
  • Completely submerged under potable running water for a period not to exceed two (2) hours at a water temperature of 70°F or below and with sufficient water velocity to agitate and flush off loose particles into the sink drain.
  • In a microwave oven if immediately followed by immediate preparation.
  • As part of a cooking process.

Cook foods to its minimum safe internal temperature:

  • Poultry, stuffed meats, stuffed pasta, wild game animals, baluts, to 165°F for 15 seconds. Cook stuffing and meat first then stuff the food.
  • Ground meats including ground beef and ground pork to 155°F for 15 seconds; 150°F for 1 minute; 145°F for 3 minutes, or 158°F for <1 second.
  • Pork, ratites, mechanically tenderized and injected meats, comminuted fish and meats and eggs in multi serving batches to 155°F for 15 seconds; 150°F for 1 minute; 145°F for 3 minutes, or 158°F for <1 second.
  • Fish, seafood, meat, game animals commercially raised for food, shell eggs for immediate service for customers' order to 145°F for 15 seconds.

Properly store raw roods of animal origin like pork, beef and poultry at the bottom of refrigeration unit while cooked and ready to serve foods at top level of the unit to avoid any kind of cross contamination.

Reheat foods previously cooked and cooled at the commissary to at least 165°F quickly within two (2) hours if meant to be held hot.

All windows, door and other openings shall be in good repair and provided with screens or flaps to prevent the entrance of flies. Pass thru windows shall be covered when not in use. Self-closing screens are required to be attached to the exterior of all pass through openings.

The door to the food preparation area shall be self-closing and shall be maintained closed.

Aisle space shall be unobstructed at all times. Foods and food supplies shall be maintained off the floor.

Food, food supplies or personal items shall not be stored in the sinks. Personal items shall not be stored in food compartment of the vehicle.


Click here for a pdf version of these Operational Requirements for Mobile Food Facilities