Guide to Preparing for Health Inspection
for Mobile Food Cart Vendors
Passing health inspection isn’t hard if you know exactly what is expected of you as a mobile food vendor. This guide will assist you in preparing for mobile food cart health inspection so you can get the information you need to pass the first time.
Starting a Mobile Food Business in Florida? Get information specific to Florida here
1. Make an appointment
Before purchasing any food vending cart, visit the health department in your area. Food service laws and licensing vary by state, county and country. You will have to meet the requirements of your local health department before you can get your license, pass health inspection and open your business.
The FIRST time you contact the health department, be ready to ask and answer questions about your mobile food cart. If you have chosen the cart you plan to purchase, bring photos or a drawing of it with you. This will allow the health inspector to ask questions about the layout and equipment on your cart.
2. Collect information
During this meeting with the health inspector ask questions about location, commissaries and cart equipment requirements. You will probably have your own questions to ask the health inspector too. Be sure to bring a pen and paper. Some of the topics you should discuss with the health inspector during this meeting:
Equipment and Building Requirements: Knowing what equipment and features need to be on your cart before you buy it makes passing inspection easier. Adding or changing equipment after it’s built can be costly or impossible. (Top Dog Carts are custom built to order. This means all of the building requirements needed to operate in your area will be met when your cart is built.)
Health Codes: The health inspector should provide you with a printed copy of the health codes in your area. You will need this information to pass health inspection.
Location Restrictions: You must provide your operating location to pass health inspection. Ask the health inspector if there are any location restrictions. For example, some cities don’t allow vendors near specific buildings. It’s easier to find a location if you know what areas are restricted.
Commissary Locations: A commissary is a licensed and inspected kitchen where you can store supplies and clean equipment. You must provide a commissary location to pass health inspection. There should be several commissaries in your are. Ask the health inspector about commissary locations.
3. Don’t Guess the Answers
If you are planning on purchasing add-on equipment such as grills, griddles or deep fryers, ask your inspector about the health codes on these items.