Mobile Food Service Trucks and Food Carts


If you intend to start or operate a business involving the sale of food products from a pushcart or truck, there are a few ways you can license these businesses.


Mobile Food Unit Licensing

1)  If you license your operation as a mobile food unit, Michigan Food Law requires you return the unit to a licensed commissary once every 24 hour period. 

2) You must own, or have a legal agreement to operate out of, a licensed commissary.  A licensed commissary is legally no different than, and must meet the same legal requirements as, a fixed food service restaurant.


A mobile food unit license will require two licenses; one for the mobile unit and one for the commissary.  Both the mobile unit and the commissary will require routine inspections by the Health Department.


Special Transitory Food Unit (STFU) Licensing

1) An STFU license allows your food truck or pushcart to operate without returning to a commissary every 24 hours and without the need to be associated with, or operate out of a licensed commissary.  An STFU can travel to any location within the State of Michigan and operate for any amount of time without returning to their home county.

2) An STFU must have the capability of providing sanitation services such as hand washing and utensil washing on-site.

3) An STFU must carry Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) at all times.  SOP's must be reviewed and approved by the Health Department in the licensing county and include detailed information regarding water sources, wastewater disposal and storage, food handling, handling and disposal of refuse etc.

4) STFU's must be inspected twice a year and are inspected at the request of the operator.  Inspections can be performed by any local Health Department in the State of Michigan.  Inspections need to be forwarded to your home county Health Department to track licensing compliance.

 When pursuing either one of these licensing options, you will first need to complete a Plan Review.  Once plan review is complete and approved, you can apply for a license.

STFU and Mobile Plan Review Application

STFU and Mobile Plan Review Worksheet

License applications can be found HERE.

If you wish to sell food from a food cart or a truck on a temporary basis, see the information on this page.


If you have any questions regarding this subject, or if you need further assistance, please contact (906)475-4195.