A mobile food unit is a vehicle mounted food product establishment designed to be readily movable (including, but not limited to, catering trucks and pushcarts) from which food is distributed, sold, or served to an ultimate consumer. A food product establishment shall not serve, sell, or distribute from a mobile food unit potentially hazardous food not intended for immediate consumption. When potentially hazardous food is allowed to be served, sold, or distributed, the correct temperatures must be maintained and food handling minimized. The director may impose additional restrictions to protect against public health hazards and adulteration.
Applicants wishing to secure a permit for a mobile food unit must schedule an appointment to have the mobile unit inspected. Mobile inspection appointments may be made at the Consumer Health Division at 7901 Goforth Road. Mobile permitting inspections are not conducted at the Consumer Health office. The permitting inspection will be scheduled at the mobile food units assigned commissary or vending location and will be conducted on Thursday's from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.
Types of Mobile Vehicles - Mobile food units in the City of Dallas are divided into two categories.
Limited Service Mobile Units
A mobile food unit from which prepackaged foods in individual servings, and beverages are served, sold or distributed. Beverages that are not potentially hazardous and are dispensed from covered urns or other protected equipment are allowed to be sold on lunch trucks. However, the serving of ice for beverages from an ice storage bin is prohibited and can only be dispensed from an automatic ice dispensing unit.
Units in the Limited Service Mobile category include:
- Produce Vendors - Approved to vend fruit and vegetables only.
- Ice Cream Trucks - Approved to vend pre-wrapped and sealed ice cream, canned soft drinks, packaged candy, chips and pickles.
- Mobile Grocery Trucks - Approved to vend pre-wrapped, non-potentially hazardous food including canned soft drinks, prepackaged grocery items, candy, chips and pickles.
- Mobile Lunch Trucks - Approved to vend wrapped, prepared potentially hazardous food in individual packages for immediate consumption.
- Mobile Catering Trucks - Approved to deliver prepared food to a catered operation.
- Limited Service Pushcart - Approved to vend foods that are pre-wrapped, bottled, or otherwise packaged.
General Service Mobile Food Units
General service mobile food units include general service pushcarts and mobile food preparation vehicles. All general service food products must be approved in advance by the Consumer Health Division Manager. The unit is to be returned to a commissary daily for storage of food products and sanitizing of all food contact surfaces.
Units in the General Service Mobile category include:
- General Service Pushcarts - All pushcarts must be limited in size to 3 feet wide, 4 feet high, and 6 feet long. Pushcart operators may conduct light food preparation on the unit and the unit must be equipped with hot and cold running water.
- Mobile Food Preparation Vehicle - Hot trucks must be a commercially manufactured, motorized mobile food unit in which ready-to-eat food is cooked, wrapped, packaged, processed, or portioned for service, sale or distribution.
A commissary is defined as a permitted fixed food establishment that serves as an operating base for a mobile food vehicle. The commissary is where the vehicle will be stored, parked, serviced, cleaned, supplied, and maintained. When located in the City of Dallas, the facility must be constructed in accordance with Chapter 17 of the Dallas City Code. Commissaries outside Dallas must be permitted and inspected by the local health authority. Home based operations are not allowed.
All mobile food vehicles must report daily to a commissary where:
- The vehicle is properly cleaned and serviced.
- All food contact surfaces are washed, rinsed and sanitized.
- The liquid waste is properly disposed.
- The Vehicle receives potable water necessary operate.
- Food served form the vehicle is stored, handled or prepared.
- Single service articles are properly stored.
- The vehicle is stored overnight.
Mobile food preparation vehicles are required to submit an itinerary stating all vending locations within the City of Dallas. The itinerary must include the following:
- the address of each premises to be serviced and the name and telephone number of the owner or person in charge
- the scheduled times of arrival and departure from each premises
Notice must be given two business days before implementation of any changes to the field itinerary. Itinerary's may be submitted to the Consumer Health Division at 7901 Goforth Rd, Dallas 75238 or by emailing MobileVendorItinerary@dallascityhall.com
Operating a mobile food unit in the Central Business District (CBD)
Chapter 50 Street Vending—CBD code
A general service pushcart currently permitted may be used on public or private property in the downtown CBD area or on private property outside the CBD. Persons wishing to operate a general service mobile pushcart in the CBD must:
- Obtain a CBD Concession License from the Consumer Health Division located at 7901 Goforth.
- If on public property: secure an approved location and provide an approved commissary for the base of operation.
- If on private property: in all cases, written permission must be secured from the property owner and the areas zoning must be checked.
Guidelines for mobile food units:
|Limited Service Pushcart Pre-Packaged||PDF|
|Mobile Commissary Approval Form||PDF|
|General Service Pushcart||PDF|
|Mobile Food Preparation Vehicle||PDF|
|Ice Cream Trucks||PDF|
City Park Concessionaire
Vendors holding a contract with the Park and Recreation Department may operate as a food vendor from a permitted concession trailer. Park concession trailers can only operate in a designated City Park during specific vending hours.
Park Trailer Guidelines