Mobile Food

Recent Updates for Mobile Food Facility Permits

On February 6, 2024, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved changes to health permits, fees, and services for mobile food businesses that took effect on March 6, 2024. View the Changes Announcement and the New Mobile Food Facilities Fee Schedule for more information.

Updated: 2024-05-14

About Sidewalk Food Vending (Compact Mobile Food Operation)

On September 23, 2022, Governor Newsom signed SB 972 that modified the California Retail Food Code (CRFC) and established a new retail food facility known as Compact Mobile Food Operation (CMFO). The new law became effective on January 1, 2023.

CMFOs may conduct limited food preparation in accordance with CRFC. The Public Health Permit and application process for a CMFO are dependent on the food menu which will determine the operation risk type (exempt, low, moderate, or high), and cart type (cart built from a standard plan, a cart that was previously permitted in Los Angeles County, or a newly built custom cart).

Examples of CMFOs include pushcarts, pedal-driven carts, wagons, or other nonmotorized conveyances. Please refer to the cart construction guidelines in the available resources below.

Health permits, plan reviews, and routine inspections are exempt for CMFOs that are selling ONLY prepackaged, non-potentially hazardous foods or whole, uncooked produce sold from an individual, on a stand, a showcase, a rack, or display within a space that is 25 square feet or less.

New Law for Street Food Vendors: what does it mean? | ¿qué significa?

CMFO Toolkit

Wondering how to get started as a compact mobile food operator? We have created a toolkit to help ease the process in getting started on your CMFO journey in Los Angeles County. Visit the toolkit ribbon below to learn more.

How to get started - Sidewalk Street Vending :

In this toolkit, you will find application packets consisting of all the applications and documents required by our department, specific to the cart you are purchasing. Each packet includes a process road map, a checklist, and list of terms used in this operation to guide you through the permitting process.

The toolkit includes videos on an introduction to CMFO, how to get started, a detailed narration of the different risk types and cart types, as well as videos on how to complete each of the required applications and documents.

Videos on "HOW-TO" Complete Applications:

CMFO cart graphics

Why do I need a permit?

A permit is required to be compliant with the California Health and Safety Code. A Public Health Permit guarantees that a food facility meets California's Health and Safety code, enabling the vendor to sell safe food items. The permitted facility undergoes regular inspections to ensure proper, safe, and sanitary operation. The goal is to provide consumers with safe and healthy food that meets public health standards.

What types of food sales are allowed without a permit?

Certain food items, like prepacked non-hazardous foods and whole uncooked fruits and vegetables, do not need a permit if they occupy an area of 25 square feet or smaller. For example, that could be a vendor selling canned or bottled drinks, candy, cookies and other pastries, nuts, chips, and uncut fruit such as oranges or apples.

What happens if I operate without a health permit?

A notice of violation will be issued initially followed by increasing administrative fines. Starting on January 1, 2024, the enforcement agency can charge up to three times the cost of the permit fee in lieu of administrative fines for operating without a health permit.

What are the risks of buying food from unpermitted food vendors?

Since unpermitted vendors are not inspected, buying food from these vendors can result in increased risk of foodborne illness due to contamination of food by bacteria or viruses.

Foodborne illness may result in vomiting, diarrhea, hospitalization, and in some cases death.

Health inspectors have identified the following common violations by unpermitted vendors:

  • Food is stored at the wrong temperature, which can lead to bacteria and foodborne illness.
  • Food is prepared with unwashed hands, exposing customers to bacteria and other contaminants.
  • Food is prepared in an unsanitary way, exposing it to contamination from raw meat.
  • Food is obtained from unknown sources, and prepared and stored at locations that have unknown and questionable sanitation.
  • Prepared foods are stored at improper temperatures for extended periods in nearby vehicles to resupply the street operation. For example, food stored in a vehicle, with no ability to keep foods hot or cold.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Compact Mobile Food Operation Frequently Asked Questions:

Cart Storage

  • Compact Mobile Food Operation - Home Storage Checklist :
  • Compact Mobile Food Operations - Extension of Cottage Food Operations Storage Checklist :

Additional Resources

For questions regarding the cart construction guidelines, please contact the Plan Check Program at (626) 430-5560.

Event Archive

To read the new law, please visit SB-972 California Health and Safety Code.

Date/Time Event Title Category Comments

Report a Problem

To report a problem with a food truck or cart, call Public Health's Mobile Food Program at (626) 430-5500 or send email to ehvip@ph.lacounty.gov. It is helpful to report details about the problem, such as exact location of the food sales, day and times of operation, and a description of what the vendor is doing.

If you get food poisoning after eating something from a food vendor, seek immediate medical treatment. Report the incident to the Morbidity Unit at (213) 240-7821 or to the Acute Communicable Disease Control at (213) 240-7941.

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