Illegal Food Vendors

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Fresno County Environmental Health Division wants you to know that eating from illegal street food vendors could be dangerous to your health.

These street food vendors do not have a permit. Do not eat from unsafe and unpermitted vendors like these:

 Illegal Food Vendor Cart  Illegal Food Vendor Cart
 Illegal Food Vendor Cart  Illegal Food Vendor Cart

These illegal vendors do not have a health permit and are not inspected or approved to operate. As a result, they:

  • Have no way to wash their hands
  • May lack basic food safety knowledge
  • May not have hot or cold temperature control
  • Bacteria that may be present can grow on their food very easily
  • They may get their food from unapproved sources
  • They may also store or prepare food in their home, garage, or backyard
  • The food they sell can be exposed to contamination from:
    • Unwashed hands
    • Bird droppings
    • Insects
    • Dust and dirt
    • Sneezing and coughing
    • Dirty utensils
    • Undercooked foods


 These are examples of mobile food vendors who have a permit. Enjoy eating from vendors like these who are equipped to serve food to the public safely. 

 Legal Food Vendor  Legal Food Vendor
 Legal Food Vendor  Legal Food Vendor
 Legal Food Vendor  Legal Food Vendor

When eating from Mobile Vendors, always make sure the vendor has a permit on the back of their vehicle that looks like this (it is a different color every year):2014 permit

If there is a permit, you know they have been inspected and permitted. To be approved to operate employees must have basic food safety training, the mobile vehicle must have hand washing facilities, proper equipment to hold foods hot and cold safely, proper food protection to avoid contamination, etc. 

Print this flyer and distribute to your family and friends that may purchase food from illegal vendors.

Illegal Food Vendors - Food Safety is Important to Your Health Flyer

be smart be safe

How to Prepare and Sell Food Legally:

To obtain a permit, please see the following requirements:

  1. OBTAIN A VEHICLE. To make sure you are getting a vehicle that will pass inspection, contact the health department PRIOR TO PURCHASING it. Bring the vehicle to our office and we will review the vehicle FREE OF CHARGE so you know before you buy, what changes need to be done. 
  2. COMMISSARY. In order to be permitted as a mobile food vendor, you need to operate from a commissary. A commissary is where you store the vehicle when you are not using it, clean the vehicle, fill up the fresh water tanks and empty the waste water tanks, store your food, obtain your food, etc. 
  3. CONTACT OUR OFFICE. Once you have selected a commissary, you can contact our office. Your inspector will be the same one that inspects the commissary. Make an appointment with your inspector to obtain your permit. 

Bring the following to the inspection appointment:

  1. HCD INSIGNIA: If your vehicle is they type that you step inside of or onto to operate, then your vehicle must have an insignia from HCD (Housing and Community Development) that signifies that the plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems on the vehicle are installed in a safe manner
  2. FOOD MANAGER CERTIFICATION: If you want to prepare food, prior to issuance of a Permit to Operate, you will need to provide documentation of your Food Manager Certification.
  3. CALIFORNIA FOOD HANDLER CARD: Every food handler on your vehicle must have a California Food Handler Card at the time of your inspection. 
  4.  VEHICLE & OPERATOR IDENTIFICATION: In addition to other items on this list, you will also need to bring with you to the inspection appointment your vehicle's valid DMV registration (if applicable) and a valid California Driver's License or California Identification Card. 
  5. OPERATIONAL STATEMENT: For some new or unique businesses we may require a completed operational statement. Contact your inspector to see if this will be required of your operation. This operational statement will help you think through some details that you may not have considered and it provides a more complete picture of your operation. 
  6. INSPECTION APPOINTMENT: In order to obtain a Permit to Operate, you must schedule an appointment with your inspector. The location of your commissary determines who your inspector will be. You will be required to bring your vehicle(s), fully functional and read to operate (120ºF hot water at sinks, steam tables on and 135ºF or above, mechanical refrigeration on and 41ºF or below, all equipment in place, etc.) to the office for inspection, submit the above documentation, complete an Environmental Health Application and pay fees
  7. If your vehicle passes inspection, you will be issued a Vehicle Permit Approval Sticker and you may begin operating in Fresno County. 

For more information, please visit the mobile food facility webpage.