Food safety rules for mobile food facilities

Follow these California requirements when running any mobile food facility in San Francisco.

All food handlers must:

Wash hands often with liquid soap and warm water. 

Wash hands before starting work, after going to the restroom, and after you have:

  • Handled raw food
  • Touched your hair, face, or other body parts
  • Sneezed or coughed
  • Smoked
  • Eaten or had a drink
  • Taken out the garbage
  • Touched anything that could contaminate your hands

Where gloves if you have cuts, sores, rashes, artificial nails, nail polish and rings.

Not use tobacco in any form.

Keep fingernails clean and trimmed.

Wear clean outer garments at all times while handling food, utensils, or food contact equipment.

Wear hair restraints like a hairnet or cap.

Sink and food temperatures

The hand washing sink and warewashing sink must have hot and cold water.

Warewashing sinks: Minimum temperature

120 degrees fahrenheit

Handwashing sinks only: Minimum temperature

100 degrees fahrenheit

Food temperatures

  • Cold, potentially hazardous foods must be kept at 41 degrees fahrenheit or below
  • Hot foods must be kept at 135 degrees fahrenheit or higher

All foods that are kept at 135 degrees fahrenheit or above must be destroyed at the end of the operating day.

An accurate thermometer must be provided to check food temperatures.

Preparing and storing food

All foods must be kept from spoiling and not be adulterated (have other substances added to them) during their:

  • manufacturing
  • production
  • prep
  • storage
  • keeping for sale
  • serving

Food must be obtained from an approved source.

It must be protected from dirt, vermin, unnecessary handling, droplet contamination, and overhead leakage.

Condiments must be prepackaged or put into approved dispensing devices.

Cleaning and waste water

All potable water tanks and wastewater tanks have to be thoroughly flushed and sanitized during servicing.

Store cleaning supplies and wiping cloths in an area away from all food and food equipment.

You are not allowed to have wastewater discharge on ground surfaces.

Keep waste tank outlets closed or tightly capped and in good repair.

Dispose of all waste water created by the vehicle with approved equipment and connections at an approved commissary or facility.

The hose used to fill-up the potable water tank must be:

  • food grade
  • not contact the ground
  • protected from contamination

Prepackaged food

All food items have to be from an approved source.

Mobile locations that handle prepackaged, potentially hazardous foods like cold sandwiches have to maintain the temperature of foods at or below 41 degrees fahrenheit by using an approved mechanical refrigeration unit.

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

Unenclosed facilities with limited food prep

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 (for an individual customer) that do not contain frozen milk products

Limited food preparation does not allow:

  • Slicing and chopping, unless on the heated cooking surface
  • Thawing
  • Cooling of cooked, potentially hazardous food
  • Grinding raw ingredients or potentially hazardous foods
  • Reheating 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 food
  • Cooking potentially hazardous foods for later use

All potentially hazardous foods must be cooked to order.

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

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

Enclosed facilities with full food prep

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

All potentially hazardous foods shall be maintained at 135 degrees fahrenheit or above (for hot foods) or 41 degrees fahrenheit 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 degrees fahrenheit or below.
  • Completely submerged under potable running water for a period not to exceed two (2) hours at a water temperature of 70 degrees fahrenheit 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 degrees fahrenheit for 15 seconds. Cook stuffing and meat first then stuff the food.
  • Ground meats including ground beef and ground pork to 155 degrees fahrenheit for 15 seconds; 150 degrees fahrenheit for 1 minute; 145 degrees fahrenheit for 3 minutes, or 158 degrees fahrenheit for <1 second.
  • Pork, ratites, mechanically tenderized and injected meats, comminuted fish and meats and eggs in multi serving batches to 155 degrees fahrenheit for 15 seconds; 150 degrees fahrenheit for 1 minute; 145 degrees fahrenheit for 3 minutes, or 158 degrees fahrenheit for <1 second.
  • Fish, seafood, meat, game animals commercially raised for food, shell eggs for immediate service for customers' order to 145 degrees fahrenheit for 15 seconds.

Storing and reheating

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 degrees fahrenheit 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.

Last updated April 24, 2024