Pushcarts & Mobile Food Units

Pushcart & Mobile Food Unit Resources

What Is a Pushcart?

A pushcart is defined as a mobile piece of equipment or vehicle used to vend food. Only hot dogs and associated condiments, pre-packaged drinks and snacks and food which has been prepared, pre-portioned, and individually pre-wrapped at a food establishment or commissary may be served from a pushcart.

What Is a Mobile Food Unit?

A mobile food unit is defined as a food establishment or pushcart designed to be readily moved and vend food. Approval of the proposed menu is directly proportional to the space and presence of mandatory equipment on the mobile food unit and/or at the affiliated commissary.

Due to their small size and transitory set up, pushcarts and most mobile food units must operate in conjunction with a permitted commissary and report at least daily to the commissary for supplies, cleaning, and servicing. If your commissary is in Brunswick County, submit a plan review application packet to our office for review prior to beginning construction. Proposed commissaries are evaluated to ensure adequate facilities are available and a signed Commissary Agreement must accompany the plan review application. Mobile Food Units which apply to operate without a commissary must provide an approved servicing area (PDF), and submit a plan review application for a food service establishment. Minimum requirements for pushcarts and mobile food units are found in sections.2670,.2671 and.2672 of the NC Rules Governing the Food Protection and Sanitation of Food Establishments, 15A NCAC 18A.2600. Specific information regarding finish (floors, walls and ceilings) and water system requirements can be found in Chapter 6 and Parts 5-3 and 5-4 of the NC Food Code Manual.

Your menu will dictate minimum food preparation and holding equipment required. Except for toasters, mixers, microwave ovens, water heaters, and hoods, food equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's intended use and certified or classified for sanitation by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited certification program. If the equipment is not certified or classified for sanitation, the equipment shall comply with Parts 4-1 and 4-2 of the NC Food Code Manual. All used equipment must be in new or like new condition.

As a safety provision, an LP-gas piping inspection should be completed by NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services before a permit is issued. 

Sanitation inspections are conducted, and grade cards are posted on mobile food units and pushcarts. Previous inspections are available for review on our Inspection Scores page.

Please Note: In addition to a permit from this office, pushcarts and mobile food units must meet all requirements of the county or local jurisdiction(s) for all proposed operating location(s). We strongly recommend you contact the applicable zoning office (PDF) to discuss requirements and restrictions prior to beginning this process.