Hot Dog Cart Food Service Guidelines

It is highly recommended that a hot dog cart operator take a food handling course before beginning to operate his or her business. These courses do not cost very much and are usually conducted or sponsored by the local or state health department. In fact, taking such a course is often a mandatory requirement in obtaining an operating permit for a new food vendor. Check the local city or health department website for details on these courses.

It is also highly recommended that you check with your local city or county health department for the exact local codes pertaining to vendor carts in your area as they do vary from place to place. For instance, some health departments will not allow hot dog carts to serve dairy based condiments such as mayonnaise, grated cheese or even squeeze bottle cheese. Many will not allow mobile food vendors to cook raw meats. This is because these foods are considered hazardous. They are prone to rapid bacterial growth when improperly stored or cooked. Such hazardous foods include meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, garlic-in-oil mixtures, cooked rice and cooked potatoes.

The guidelines included in this manual are generally universal in nature and are designed to keep you, your cart, and your food safe and appealing. We have basically tried to select the best information from all the various federal, state and county health organizations. The material is presented in a format that is intended to be easy to understand and put into practice. Keep in mind that as a hotdog vendor you are considered a food handler by the health department officials and therefore must operate under their specific guidelines. Failure to comply will endanger the health of your customers, likely result in the loss of your operations permit and incur fines.

Please click on the next link in our manual regarding the Safe Handling of Meat Products.

1.               General Food Service Guidelines

2.              Meat Handling, Storage and Preparation Guide

3.              Storing, Preparing and Serving Condiments

4.              Other Healthy Food Guidelines

5.              Hot Dog Cart Daily Operations

6.              Vending Cart Safety Guidelines

7.              Routine Hot Dog Cart Maintenance

8.              Equipment Trouble Shooting

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