Food Safety - Mobile Food Units


  • Definition: A permitted, fully enclosed mobile kitchen that may prepare, cook, or serve Time/Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) food as a mobile food establishment and as an extension of a permitted commissary.
  • Food: Preparation of bulk food, including washing, slicing, peeling, and cutting, must occur at the commissary.
  • Doors: Must remain closed at all times.
  • Service Window: Can be no larger than 2 feet x 2 feet. Must be covered with a solid material or screen, and be self-closing or covered by an air curtain.
  • Ventilation: Mechanical exhaust equipment must be provided over all cooking equipment to effectively remove cooking grease, heat, vapors, etc.

Mobile Food Pushcarts

  • Definition: Limited food service, permitted units that operate as a direct extension of a commissary.
  • Food: All food preparation, including washing, slicing, peeling, cutting, and cooking, must occur at the commissary.
  • Construction: Must have preparation and display areas completely enclosed unless located indoors or approved by DHEC to serve boiled/steamed hotdogs or ice cream.


  • Definition: A permitted retail food establishment that is authorized by DHEC to provide support of operations, storage, and a servicing area for a permitted mobile food unit or permitted mobile food pushcart.

Manager Certification

Mobile Food Unit & Pushcart Requirements:

  • All units, pushcarts, and commissaries must complete DHEC form 1769: Application & Permit.
  • Identification: Mobile food units and pushcarts must have their business name, commissary permit number, commissary name, and commissary address printed 3” high on the unit. See 9-1 (L)(12) for more information.
  • Handwashing Sinks: Mobile food units and pushcarts must have a hand sink installed on the unit and used for no other purpose.
  • Items/Articles: Only single-service utensils, bowls, plates, and other containers are to be provided to the customer.
  • Service: Customer self-service of unpackaged TCS food is prohibited.
  • Water Source: All units and pushcarts must use water from an approved drinking water system.
  • Water Capacity: Each water storage system must have a capacity of 5 gallons or greater.
  • Wastewater Storage: Wastewater must be stored in a tank that is 15% larger than the unit/cart’s water supply. Removable wastewater tanks may not be larger than 10 gallons. If a permanent wastewater tank is used, the tank may have more than a 10-gallon capacity.
  • Wastewater Disposal: Wastewater must be flushed and drained at the commissary.
  • Storage: Mobile food units and pushcarts must return to the commissary after each day of operation and be stored onsite.

Inspections: Mobile food units and pushcarts must be available for inspection at the commissary at any reasonable time when requested by DHEC.


Food Safety