Mobile Food Establishments
Download the State of Wisconsin requirements in: Chapter 9 of The Wisconsin Food Code
City of Milwaukee Moving and Parking Rules. Download City of Milwaukee Rules and Regulations for Food Trucks and Mobile Vendors: English or Español.
Mobile Service Base Requirements
New: For new food truck operations licensed after April 1, 2015: Type I ventilation hoods will be required over cooking appliances that produce grease and smoke. Type II hoods shall be installed above appliances that produce heat or moisture and do not produce grease or smoke. Ventilation systems shall be installed and operated according to the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code, chs. SPS 361 to 366. Trucks initially licensed prior to April 1, 2015, must meet this requirement prior to the renewal of the license in 2016.
Sanitation and Safety Training
Operators may arrange for a training session at their establishment by calling (414) 286-3674, or can watch the following video available in either English or Spanish:
Food Peddler Permit applications are processed by the License Division of the City Clerk's office.
Ice Cream Peddlers
Every person who physically operates an ice cream vending vehicle or any person who physically conducts the vending of ice cream or similar frozen confections from a vehicle or from a carried container must have an Ice Cream Peddler's License. These licenses are issued by the License Division of the City Clerk's office
Mobile Service Bases
Mobile restaurants must have a Mobile Service Base. A place to fill your water tank, dispose of wastewater, wash utensils, and store and prepare food. This base is required even if all food is prepared on the mobile unit and is in addition to the license for your vehicle or cart. You cannot use a private home as a service base to prepare food.
Service base requirements
- Food preparation facilities UNLESS your vehicle is equipped with Health Department approved facilities.
- Utensil washing facilities (three or four compartment stainless steel sink with drainboards).
- A sink for hand washing
- A sink with a threaded tap where the vehicle water tank can be filled with potable water. Hoses must be food grade- no garden hoses. Recreational Vehicle (RV) and restaurant supply dealers are good sources for such equipment. Supply hoses need to be protected from contamination at all times and kept in a labeled, clean container when not in use.
- A mop sink or waste drain for the disposal of wastewater.
- Storage for food and supplies.
- A food preparation sink may be required. It depends on the food menu.
Mobile Service Base facilities must meet the Wisconsin Food Code standards for floor and wall finishes, equipment, and lighting. If you are sharing or leasing a facility operated by someone else, the Health Department will inspect that location in your name. You are required to have a notarized agreement between you and the facility owner. It should specify the times that your vehicle will be using the base. If asked by an inspector, you must furnish information about the itinerary of your vehicle, so keep this information available at your service base.
EACH MOBILE FOOD ESTABLISHMENT SHALL RETURN TO ITS SERVICE BASE AT LEAST EVERY 24 HOURS FOR SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE.
Variance from Mobile Service Base License Requirement
Operators may request a variance to not have a licensed service base for their operation. In order for a variance request to be considered, the following items must be in compliance:
- The unit must be in compliance with all requirements of the Wisconsin Food Code and City Ordinances.
- Warewashing facilities must be large enough to accommodate all utensils that need to be washed.
- Water must be obtained from an approved source and waste must be dumped at an approved location. Water filling and waste dumping cannot be done at a private home. A log must be kept on the unit recording the date, time and number of gallons of water obtained and dumped.
- Handsink(s) must be separate from warewashing sinks and be other than hand operated.
- When not in use, the unit must be stored in a secured location that is not the public way. If foods that require refrigeration are to be kept on the unit while in storage, there must be an approved power supply for the refrigeration.
- An itinerary must be kept on the unit.
- Produce cannot be washed on the unit. All produce must be obtained prewashed.
- No food items are allowed to be stored in a private residence or garage unless there is a food dealer's license for home storage ( apply with License Division of City Clerk's Office for license for home storage).
- The Affirmation of Understanding- Operating Without a Licensed Base must be completed and submitted to the City of Milwaukee Health Department.
Operators are to contact the License Division of the City Clerk's office and pay the appropriate variance application fee. They are then to complete the variance application (see below). The following information must be included in or attached to the variance application:
- A listing of all equipment, to include the make and model numbers and sizes of water and waste-water tanks.
- A letter on the owner's letterhead from the owner of location where the water will be obtained and dumped granting permission to obtain and dump water.
- The location where the unit will be stored when not in use and if necessary how power will be supplied if foods that require refrigeration are to be kept on the unit.
- A schematic or photo showing all equipment/layout inside the unit and the outside as well. Specification sheets showing equipment that meet ANSI standards or has been approved by the departments.
- Where trash will be disposed of. Trash cannot be placed in residential garbage carts.
- Menu and if applicable, statement of where washed produce will be obtained.
Request a variance from the Wisconsin Food Code section 9-103.11 by completing the form below and submitting to your inspector. Do not submit forms directly to the state:
DHS Variance Petition Application - PDF