Mobile Food Units
A mobile food unit (MFU) is an operation where the food service establishment is readily movable; this includes mobile food trucks, trailers, and carts. All mobile units must have a commissary kitchen (unless they meet the exemption criteria in RCW 43.20.148), and commissary agreements need to be submitted.
A commissary kitchen is an approved, permitted food establishment where food is stored, prepared, portioned, or packaged to be served somewhere else. This ensures that food safety requirements are met. The MFU must return to the commissary kitchen at a regular frequency, as determined during the plan review process. Mobile operators are now required to document their presence at the commissary on a log and maintain the log for one year.
Mobile Food Units that have not been inspected and approved for use by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries will not be permitted by the Snohomish County Health Department. Please visit the L&I Food Trucks & Trailers and Food Truck Label web pages for more information.
List of Currently Permitted Mobiles
Mobile Plan Review Process
New MFU’s will need to complete the full Mobile Food Unit Plan Review Application Packet (PDF). There are four main steps to mobile plan review.
1. Submit plans
All items listed on the Food Establishment Plan Review Checklist, including the nonrefundable plan review fee, must be submitted to the Snohomish County Health Department.
2. Wait for approval letter
The goal is to send a response letter within the posted turnaround time, letting you know that the project is approved and meets state and local codes, or that additional information or changes are needed before approval can be given. A copy of the approval letter will be sent to all applicable agencies, such as the Building Department, Washington State Liquor Control Board, and Labor and Industries.
3. Pass inspection
Schedule a pre-operational inspection. This allows the Snohomish County Health Department to verify that the establishment meets all state and local codes and matches the approved plans. The preoperational inspection will take place at the approved commissary. Please schedule your preoperational inspection at least 7 days in advance. There are no additional charges for the first preoperational inspection. There is a charge if a reinspection is needed.
4. Pay for permit
Once the pre-operational inspection is passed, you will be sent an invoice for your annual permit fee via email. The annual permit fee can be paid online, in person, or by mail. The Mobile Food Unit may open to the public once the annual permit fee is paid in full.
Use the Mobile Food Unit Plan Review Guide (PDF) or the Mobile Food Unit Plan Review Guide in Spanish (PDF) to lead you through the process.
Mobile Food Unit Fees
Plan review fees
|New mobile food unit||$815.00|
|Change of ownership||$410.00|
|Revision to approved plan (i.e. changing commissary kitchens)||$205.00|
|Reinspection after first pre-operational inspection||$205.00|
|Mobile approval by reciprocity (must meet requirements listed below)||$0.00|
Annual Permit Fees
|Low risk annual permit||$400.00|
|Medium risk annual permit||$600.00|
|High risk annual permit||$830.00|
MOBILE PERMIT RECIPROCITY
Mobile food units which are already permitted in another county, meet the criteria in RCW 43.20.148, and wish to become permitted in Snohomish County must submit the following items to the Snohomish County Health Department. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
- Provide a completed Snohomish County Health Department annual permit application.
- Provide a copy of your current annual operating permit from the primary county.
- Provide a copy of the completed, approved plan review from the primary county.
- Provide a copy of the most recent routine food safety inspection report for the mobile food unit performed by the primary county. The most recent routine inspection must have zero cited violations.
- If applicable, provide a copy of any commissary agreements the applicant is required to maintain under the permit from the primary county.
- If applicable, provide a complete restroom agreement letter if the mobile food unit will be serving from a single site longer than 1 hour.
- Upon approval, submit payment for annual permit fees with the Snohomish County Health Department.
You must work with your primary county to ensure that all required documentation is included. If these requirements cannot be met, you must apply as a new mobile food unit for review by the Snohomish County Health Department.