Three agencies are responsible for regulating and licensing food safety in Florida – the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH).
Accordingly, mobile food establishments must comply with all applicable regulatory standards to operate legally. Read on to discover the basics of mobile food establishment permits in Florida.
Who Needs a Mobile Food Establishment Permit in Florida?
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) requires proper licensing from any facility manufacturing, packing, holding, processing, and preparing food, or selling food at wholesale or retail in Florida.
Hence, a food truck needs to apply for an annual food permit with the DACS to operate legally. The costs of an annual food permit vary based on the type of mobile food establishment owned by the applicant.
A food permit is not required by Florida law for individuals selling vegetables, fruit, or legumes in a mobile truck or cart. In such cases, the seller must only need to obtain the applicable tax and business permits.
Applying for a Mobile Food Vendor Permit in Florida – The Fundamentals
The first step to obtaining a mobile food vendor permit in Florida is visiting the DACS official website (fdacs.gov). On the website, applicants can review the relevant regulations and requirements before filing the forms to apply for a food permit.
Then, the applicant must get a Commissary Letter of Agreement. This document must be submitted as part of a mobile food establishment application.
Florida law requires mobile food establishments to have access to an approved facility for servicing the food truck, such as a catering kitchen, a restaurant, or any eligible commissary designed exclusively for serving food vendors. The services provided by a commissary may include:
- Dish or equipment washing
- Storing of food and dry goods (room temperature)
- Dumping wastewater
- Cold Storage of food (including ice and drinks)
- Receiving potable water
- Cooking and/or reheating food
- Washing the outside of the vehicle
- Three compartment sinks
- Restroom facilities
After obtaining a Commissary Letter of Agreement, the next step is to submit a Food Establishment Inspection Application with DACS.
Before approving a mobile food establishment permit, the agency responsible for licensing will inspect the facility for food safety and sanitation. Applicants must clarify whether they are seeking a permit for a new, remodeled, or reopened mobile food establishment.
The regulatory agency will also require applicants to submit digital plans of the facility’s layout, including the mechanic aspect of the truck, cooking, and refrigeration. Failing to submit appropriate drawings will result in a denial of permit.
Once the applicant submits the initial documentation, the responsible agency will proceed to schedule an in-person inspection. The commissary must also be inspected by the agency.
A food truck also needs a Certified Food Manager on duty during its operation, as well as a food handler’s permit for other employees in charge of preparing the food.
Do You Want to Obtain a Mobile Food Establishment Permit in Florida? – Immediately Seek Expert Legal Guidance
Navigating the complex regulations of mobile food establishments can be challenging. Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to find the best licensing solution for your food truck business.