Mobile Food Units & Pushcarts
WHAT IS A MOBILE FOOD UNIT?
A mobile food unit is a restaurant on wheels that is fully enclosed with floors, walls and ceilings. These units are required to have a pressurized potable water system that provides hot and cold water for all food preparation, utensil cleaning and handwashing. Other requirements include a handwashing lavatory, water heater and at least a single-compartment utensil sink with integral drainboards on both sides of the sink and splashback protection are required.
WHAT IS A PUSHCART?
A pushcart is a mobile piece of equipment or vehicle which prepares and serves hot dogs only or foods which have been prepared, pre-portioned, and individually pre-wrapped at the pushcarts commissary. These units are normally easily moved around by one person.
WHAT IS A COMMISSARY?
This is a permitted food service establishment that services mobile food units and pushcarts. A commissary may or may not serve customers at it's location.
DO I NEED A PERMIT?
Units that only serve commercially packaged foods are regulated by the NC Department of Agriculture and do not need a permit from the Health Department to operate. For information contact the NC Department of Agriculture at (919)733-7366 or visit their website at NC Department of Agriculture Food & Drug Protection Division. Some examples of foods that may be regulated by the Department of Agriculture are dipped ice cream, soft serve ice cream, doughnuts, funnel cakes, popcorn, peanuts and cotton candy.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A PERMIT?
There are several steps to getting either a Mobile Food Unit or Pushcart permit. Before starting, you should contact Rockingham County Environmental Health Department and talk or meet with an Environmental Health Specialist. Then the following steps should be taken:
Find a Commissary which will allow you to store food, utensils and/or equipment at their facility. This is where you will have to store any food, equipment or utensils that you do not have room for on your mobile food unit or pushcart. You will also have to visit your commissary once a day every day that you operate to service your mobile food unit or pushcart. Once you have found a commissary, you and the owner of the commissary must fill out the Mobile Food Unit/Pushcart Agreement.
Mobile Food Units and Pushcarts are inspected between 2 and 4 times a year depending on their menu and the amount of food preparation done. Grades are not posted for these types of food service.
If you have a concern about food safety at an establishment, speak to the manager directly. If you still have concerns, you may also call us at (336)342-8180 to register a complaint.