Plan Review for Mobile Food Units
Food, Pools, and Lodging Services (FPLS)
A mobile food unit (MFU) is a food and beverage service establishment that is a vehicle mounted unit, either motorized or trailered, and readily movable, without disassembling, for transport to another location. The unit can operate no more than 21 days annually at any one place unless it is operated at the site of and in conjunction with a permanent business licensed under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 157 or chapter 28A. All MFU must operate in compliance with the Minnesota food code.
For information about the requirements for obtaining a license for a mobile food unit, see our factsheet:
Plan Review Application
The Mobile Food Unit, Seasonal Temporary Food Stand, and Seasonal Permanent Food Stand Construction Guide provides additional guidance for construction and operation of a MFU, including information about equipment; sinks; floor, wall and ceiling finishes; water; sewage; and utilities.
- Mobile Food Unit, Seasonal Temporary Food Stand and Seasonal Permanent Food Stand Construction Guide (PDF: 178KB/15 pages)
Plan Submittal and Licensing
Individuals or groups interested in operating a MFU must submit a plan review application with fees and obtain approval before beginning new construction or remodeling.
The menu and location of operation determine which agency is responsible for plan review and licensing. To determine whether your license will be issued by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) or another agency, see the Food, Pools, and Lodging Services Section website at Licensing Jurisdiction contact information.
MDH plan approval letters will include a license application. Submit the completed license application and appropriate fee, and contact MDH to schedule a preoperational inspection at least 14 days prior to your first event.
Handwashing is the single most effective means of preventing the spread of disease causing microbes and pathogens.
Handwashing sink(s) must be set up and operational prior to the start of an event, be easily accessible to all employees and used for no other purpose.
Handwashing sink(s) must be supplied with running water at a temperature between 70°F and 110°F, soap, nailbrush and disposable towels.
Gloves, wet-wipes or hand sanitizers are not substitutes for handwashing.
Hands must be washed before working with food, clean equipment and utensils; after smoking, eating or drinking, or using toilet facilities; or any time hands become contaminated.
Limiting Bare Hand Contact
Limit bare hand contact with ready-to-eat or cooked foods by wearing disposable gloves or using utensils, deli tissue, spatulas, tongs or other dispensing equipment.
Employees who have been ill with vomiting and/or diarrhea should not work in a food establishment for at least 24 hours after their symptoms end.
Employees must dress in clean clothing and wear an effective hair restraint such as a hairnet, hat or scarf. While preparing food, a food employee must not have painted or false fingernails, nor wear jewelry on the arms and hands, except for a wedding band or other plain ring.
Person in Charge
The person in charge (PIC) must be present during all hours of operation and service. The PIC must be able to demonstrate knowledge of foodborne illness prevention as it relates to the food preparation processes of the MFU. The PIC is responsible for providing employees with safe food handling information needed while performing their job and to ensure the employees follow approved procedures.
All food, beverages and ice must be obtained from approved sources. Food cannot be prepared or stored in a home. Off-site preparation or storage must be done at a licensed food establishment. When food is prepared at another location; a copy of that establishment’s license or the commissary agreement should be carried during periods of operation.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
Utensils and equipment must be washed, rinsed, sanitized and air dried after each use in an approved sanitizer at the required strength and contact time.
Approved sanitizers may include chlorine bleach, quaternary ammonium or iodine. Always follow label instructions. Use the required sanitizer solution strength and contact time.
Damp or soiled wiping cloths must be stored in an approved sanitizer at the required strength. Provide an appropriate test kit to check the concentration of the sanitizer used.
Do not cross-contaminate ready-to-eat foods with raw meats, poultry and fish. Common cross-contaminated items may include cutting boards, cooking utensils, cloths, aprons and hands.
Ice must be stored and handled as a food product. Drained ice used to cool beverages must not be used in drinks or food preparation.
Safe Food Temperatures
Cook all potentially hazardous food to the following temperatures or hotter: poultry, 165°F; ground beef, sausage, gyro, 155°F; pork, 155°F; fish, shrimp, shell eggs, 145°F; beef steak, beef roast, lamb, 145°F.
Hold hot foods at or above 140°F. Hold cold foods at or below 41°F. Never thaw foods on the counter.
Provide accurate thermometers for monitoring food temperatures and in all refrigeration units.