Procedures for obtaining a foodservice permit for a mobile unit

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Submitting Plans

Plans drawn to scale, blueprints or contractor's drawings, for new construction, existing or renovation of an existing unit, must be submitted to the Health District for approval. Plans should show the layout (identifying equipment and providing an equipment list), arrangement and construction material of the inside of the mobile food unit including food preparation, storage and service window areas.


A Menu or list of all foods and beverages to be served shall be submitted for review and approval. Mobile foodservice units that serve only prepackaged nonpotentially hazardous foods are not required to obtain a permit or provide water, wastewater or commissary.

Description of Operation

A Description of Operation (in writing) of how you plan to operate your mobile food unit shall also be submitted. The description of operation shall include but not be limited to the following: whether food will be prepackaged only, main hours of operation, main area of operation (list stationary or leased area of operation if applicable), method(s) of serving food to customers, etc.

Commissary (central preparation facility)

Mobile food units shall operate from a central preparation facility or other fixed food establishment and shall report to such location for supplies and for cleaning and servicing operations. The commissary or other fixed food establishment, used as a base of operation for mobile food units, shall be constructed and operated in compliance with the requirements of the Texas Food Establishment Rules.

The owner of any mobile unit must provide verifiable documentation regarding the location of their central preparation facility to the Health District before a Health Permit may be issued. A copy of the commissary's Health Permit and most recent inspection report must be provided for the Health District's file if the commissary is not located within Galveston County. A letter verifying your access to commissary facilities must be submitted. A new letter is required every year. This information must be presented at your plan review session. The letter granting permission to use the central preparation facility should be submitted on the form provided.

Servicing area and operations

A mobile food unit servicing area shall be provided and include at least overhead protection for any supplying, cleaning or servicing operations except for those areas providing only for the loading of water and/or the discharge of sewage and other liquid waste, through the use of a closed system of hoses, need not be provided with overhead protection. Within this servicing area, a location provided for flushing and drainage of liquid wastes shall be separate from the location provided for water servicing and for the loading and unloading of food and related supplies. Speak to a Health District representative for further requirements of the servicing area.

Note: Feel free to ask Health District personnel to review floor plans of prefabricated mobile food units or to look at an existing unit that you are contemplating purchasing. This will give you a general idea of how much work may be needed to get the unit permitted, if it is not acceptable as presented.

Food Service Plan Review

A Food Service Plan Review must be conducted prior to starting construction, remodeling, or renovations. A copy of the floor plans, menu, a description of the operation and central preparation facility letter (along with the inspection report and copy of central preparation facility permit) must be submitted for review and approval at this time. Appointments must be made in advance for plan reviews. A plan review fee from $175.00 to $225.00 may be charged

Contact other municipal departments (i.e. permits, zoning, etc.) for additional requirements. Each city in the county may have separate rules on vending from a mobile unit.

Pre-approval inspection

A Pre-approval inspection of your mobile food unit (upon your request) must be conducted by the Health District after all construction and remodeling is completed. An appointment for this inspection should be scheduled in advance. The unit must be clean and all equipment must be in place. Chemical test kit(s), appropriate metal stem thermometer(s), soap, and paper towels, etc. shall be provided at this time. Refrigerators to be used to store potentially hazardous foods must be turned on for inspection. Verification of the facility's ability to store potentially hazardous foods at a temperature of 41o F. or less must be confirmed. This inspection will list all corrections to be made prior to the final inspection.

If no corrections are required the unit will be eligible for a food service permit upon payment of the required fee.

Once you have purchased your Food Service Permit, you may operate your mobile food unit according to the approved menu and description of operation. The Food Service Permit must be posted in a conspicuous place on the unit.


  1. The following information is presented as a GUIDELINE ONLY to outline the primary requirements for a food establishment in Galveston County. Specific needs should be discussed with Health District Sanitarians.

  2. Conveniently located refrigeration facilities or effectively insulated facilities shall be provided to assure the maintenance of all potentially hazardous food (if applicable).

  3. Conveniently located hot food storage facilities shall be provided to assure the maintenance of food at the required temperature during storage (if applicable).

  4. A three compartment sink shall be used for washing, rinsing and sanitizing of utensils and equipment. Sinks shall be large enough to permit the complete immersion of the utensils and equipment and each compartment of the sink shall be supplied with hot and cold potable running water (must be available on the unit and in central preparation facility, if applicable).

  5. Drainboards or easily movable dish-tables of adequate size for the proper handling of soiled utensils prior to washing and for cleaned utensils following sanitization shall be provided at the three compartment sink.

  6. Water System: The potable water system shall be installed to preclude the possibility of backflow. System shall be of sufficient capacity to furnish enough hot and cold water under pressure for food preparation, cleaning and sanitizing and handwashing, in accordance the requirements. Water inlet shall be capped when not being used to fill water tank. The system shall be enclosed and sloped to permit complete drainage of the tank. Check with a Health District Representative for further details.

  7. Floor and floor coverings of all food preparation, food storage, and utensil-washing areas shall be constructed of smooth durable material such as durable grades of linoleum or plastic, or tight wood impregnated with plastic, and shall be maintained in good repair.

  8. The walls, including non supporting partitions, wall coverings, and ceilings of food preparation areas, food storage areas, equipment-washing and utensil-washing areas shall be smooth, nonabsorbent, and easily cleanable.

  9. Studs, joists, and rafters shall not be exposed in: food preparation areas, equipment and utensil-washing areas. Utility service lines and pipes shall not be unnecessarily exposed on walls or ceilings in these areas.

  10. At least 50 foot candles of light shall be provided to all working surfaces and at least 20 foot candles of light shall be provided to all other surfaces and equipment in food preparation, utensil-washing, and hand washing areas, and in toilet rooms. At least 10 foot candles of light shall be provided in all other areas (if applicable).

  11. Shielding to protect against broken glass falling onto food shall be provided for all artificial lighting fixtures located over, by, or within food storage, preparation, service and display facilities, and facilities where utensils and equipment are cleaned and stored (if applicable).

  12. Ventilation system shall be installed and operated according to law.

  13. Units stationed daily in a set location shall maintain all parts of the property used in connection with operations shall be free of litter (if applicable).

  14. Toilet facilities shall be installed according to law, shall be the number required by law, shall be accessible to employees at all times (must be available in central preparation facility). Mobile units stationed in a set location must provide a letter verifying access to proper toilet facilities. These facilities must be conveniently located for the employees.

  15. Handwashing sinks shall be at least the number required by law, shall be installed according to law and shall be located to permit convenient use by all employees in food preparation areas and utensil-washing area.

  16. Each handwashing sink shall be provided with hot and cold water tempered by means of a mixing valve or combination faucet.

  17. There shall be a sufficient number of containers to hold all garbage and refuse that accumulates.

  18. Potable water servicing equipment shall be installed according to law and shall be stored in a way that protects the water and equipment from contamination.

  19. Water under pressure at the required temperatures shall be provided to all fixtures and equipment that use water.

  20. A facility shall be provided and used for washing all garbage containers. This facility shall be provided with hot water and detergent or steam for cleaning (must be available at central preparation facility, if applicable).

  21. If liquid waste results from operation of the mobile food unit, the waste shall be stored in a permanently installed retention tank that is at least fifteen percent larger in capacity than the water supply tank.

  22. The mobile food unit liquid waste retention tank, where used, shall be thoroughly flushed and drained during the servicing operations. All liquid waste shall be discharged to a sanitary sewerage disposal system.

  23. Liquid waste shall not be discharged from the retention tank when the unit is in motion.

  24. All connections on the vehicle for servicing mobile food unit waste disposal facilities shall be of a different size or type than those used to supply potable water to the mobile food unit. These connections shall be located lower than the water inlet.

  25. Food and containers of food shall not be stored under exposed or unprotected sewer lines or water lines.

  26. Multi-use equipment and utensils shall be constructed and repaired with safe materials shall be corrosion resistant and nonabsorbent; and shall be smooth, easily cleanable, and durable under conditions of normal use.

  27. All equipment and utensils, including plasticware, shall be designed and fabricated for durability under conditions of normal use and shall be resistant to denting, buckling, pitting, chipping, and crazing.

If additional information is required, please call our office. Thank you for your cooperation.

9850-D Emmett F. Lowry Expressway
Texas City, TX 77591

For information on the City of Galveston Peddling or Temporary Concession Permits contact:

City of Galveston
Planning Department
City Hall, 4th Floor
823 Rosenberg
P.O. Box 779
Galveston, TX 77553

Note: You must have a valid food service permit to obtain a City of Galveston Vending Permit.



COMMISSARY NAME __________________________________________________

ADDRESS __________________________________ PHONE NO. _______________

CITY _____________________________________ STATE _____ ZIP ____________

OWNER NAME ________________________________________________________

ADDRESS __________________________________ PHONE NO. _______________

CITY _____________________________________ STATE _____ ZIP ____________

PERMISSION GRANTED BY ________________________________ DATE _________


MOBILE UNIT NAME ____________________________________________________

VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: MODEL ________________ MAKE _________________


OWNER NAME ________________________________________________________

ADDRESS _______________________________ PHONE NO._____________________

CITY ____________________________________ STATE ____ ZIP ______________



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