Guidelines for Push Carts

Authorized By Section 8-104.1 (B) of the Columbia Food Code

It is the intent of these regulations to require pushcarts to comply with all sections of the food service ordinance and code not specifically waived or modified below:

  • The sale of unwrapped frankfurters, sauerkraut, chestnuts, fresh fruit, pretzels, popcorn, and soft drinks will be allowed from pushcarts that are not equipped with screens and plumbing facilities normally required for street food processors. Other food items may be authorized at a later date.
  • Food will be handled only with utensils such as tongs, or napkins, or other clean tissues. At no time will the pushcart operators directly handle unwrapped food items.
  • Each container of food on the pushcart shall be equipped with a tight-fitting lid. Lids will be kept closed at all times except when food is being added or removed.
  • Spigots for coffee and soft drinks will be kept covered at all times except when drinks are being drawn.
  • When potentially hazardous foods, including frankfurters, are sold from pushcarts, a service depot shall be provided as required elsewhere for mobile food processors.
  • When the restricted pushcart operator desires to sell only non-hazardous foods, service facilities will be evaluated on an individual basis.
  • All potentially hazardous foods, except completely wrapped frozen items, which remain unsold at the end of the business day shall be discarded.
  • Where tongs or other utensils are used to handle unwrapped food items, a minimum of two spares utensils will be kept on the cart at all times. Spare utensils shall be clean, sanitized, and wrapped to prevent contamination. If the utensil in use becomes contaminated, it must be replaced with a clean utensil. If no spare utensil is available, food service operations shall cease until additional spares are obtained.
  • Each restricted pushcart shall be equipped with a trash receptacle. The receptacle shall be available for use by customers and shall be covered when not in use.
  • Condiments must be provided in single-service portions or limited to non-potentially hazardous items such as catsup and mustard, and must be dispensed from squeeze containers. Containers must be protected from contamination when not in use.
  • Under no circumstances will customers be permitted to serve themselves.
  • Containers used for holding unwrapped food items must be conveniently removable from the pushcart to allow proper cleaning and sanitizing.
  • An operating permit must be obtained for each pushcart. Such permits shall be posted in a conspicuous location in the pushcart.

Service Depot:

  • All pushcart operations shall be provided a service depot. This requirement may be waived for limited Food Vendor operations.
  • The construction of a service depot shall conform with the food code.
  • An adequate supply of hot and cold running water for cleaning and sanitizing mobile units shall be available at all times. Water shall be from an approved water supply. The hose used for filling the water tank of such mobile units shall be used for no other purpose.
  • All equipment used in conjunction with mobile unit operation shall be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day’s operation.
  • The wastewater tank on the mobile unit shall be emptied and cleaned only at the service depot. Proper drains shall be provided in the depot for this purpose. Adequate sanitary containers shall be provided for storage of trash and food wastes.
  • Adequate sanitary storage space shall be provided for supplies and equipment. A dry storage room or other facilities suitable for storing perishable foods at a temperature of 41 degrees F., or lower, shall be provided.
  • Approved toilet and lavatory facilities shall be provided.
  • Facilities shall be provided which will assure the proper washing, rinsing, and sanitizing of all equipment that comes in contact with food products.