09/29/19 - New Food Truck Code Changes Coming For More Cities!

The WSFTA has just recently been giving code guidance to Tumwater, North Bend & Snoqualmie. All three of these cities have no current definition for mobile food vendors outside of permitted special events. These new proposed code changes will allow for more food truck activity on a regular basis with access to both private and public spaces. Stay tuned for updates on council meetings.

08/26/19 - Proposed New Food Code Mobile Food Vendors

The WSFTA has been an active member of the Washington State Department of Health - Food Safety Advisor Council (FSAC), for the last 18-months. During this time we were able to work with other council members to help craft proposed new food safety code, specially in regard to mobile food vending. We greatly appreciate the work of WSFTA members Emily Wiggly and Beth Clement, who brought their industry knowledge and experience to these council meetings. The proposed changes to the current food safety code will be recommended to the Washington State Board of Health and, if adapted, they will be implemented in May of 2020. Below are some of the key changes that are being proposed:

There will be proposed new code language regarding Primary and Secondary permits, to address the new Plan Review reciprocity requirement that resulted from the bill that the WSFTA helped to create and pass in the state legislature earlier this year (SSB-5218).

New requirements regarding changing of the food preparation processes will be considered, which means that Plan Reviews will no longer require an itinerary or site location plan, as this will now be required after the Plan Review approval, when vendors submit for their permit.

There will be proposed code changes regarding the cooling of food on board the mobile unit, if a commissary kitchen exemption is granted. This resulted from the commissary kitchen exemption bill that the WSFTA helped to create and pass in the state legislature in 2018 (SHB-2639).

The Food Safety Advisory Council will be recommending the repeal of 09130, which currently bans the cooking of meat thicker than 1-inch, and there will be new language proposed regarding bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, as well.

There is proposed new language requiring the establishment of clean-up protocols for vomiting and diarrheal events. Every mobile food vendor will need to create and maintain a written plan.

A proposal to allow the local regulatory authority to waive or modify the three- compartment sink requirement, if certain conditions are met, will also be proposed.

Lastly, there will be a proposed requirement to have at least one person-in- charge (PIC), per establishment, as a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM), by July of 2021. The original proposal would have required every mobile food unit worker to have this certification, but we requested to have that changed to just one worker per food establishment.

The WA State food safety code is only open for this kind of sweeping revision about every 10-years. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with the Department of Heath and the 14-other stakeholders involved in this process. Many of these proposed changes to our food safety code originated with the 2017 FDA guidelines, and while not all of the newly proposed food safety regulations are exactly what we were hoping for, we feel that our voice was heard and our concerns were respectfully and carefully considered. Overall, these new regulations, if adopted, will improve public health and safety and will not adversely impact mobile food vendors.

To view all of the proposed changes to the food safety code click here.

08/23/19 - Everett Food Truck Code Passed

The WSFTA ran a pilot program for the City of Everett and during this time, a moritorium was placed on their existing food truck code. After much internal city discussions and action by the city council, an ordinance was passed that will:

* Eliminate any special business license requirement for food trucks that include fingerprinting, providing photos, and an FBI criminal background check.

* Reduce the distance food trucks can park from a permanent eating establishment from 250 to 50- feet from the front door of a permanent eating establishment unless the food truck has written permission from the establishment to be directly in front of the door.

* Eliminate the protection zone around the Angel of the Winds Arena.

* Allow more administrative changes to better adjust the food truck temporary right of way permitting process with a new street vending program via contract with Washington State Food Truck Association (WSFTA) to help the city manage the Food Trucks.

Food trucks will still need to comply with similar regulations as brick and mortar establishments such as maintaining a general city business license and state UBI, securing a Snohomish Health District Permit, and passing Fire Department inspections as required.

08/22/19 - Update on Labor Laws

Considering the passage of 11-state employment laws during the 2018-19 legislative sessions, businesses with employees in Washington State will do well to scrutinize and update their hiring, payroll, and employment practices. Small businesses with limited human resource personnel may be at risk for not knowing all the new requirements. One of the most significant new laws replaces the Equal Pay Act with the Equal Pay and Opportunity Act (EPOA) to protect employees from pay and career advancement discrimination based on gender. Find Washington’s new labor rules and changes here.

06/05/19 - New Fire Code for Mobile Food is Here

An official policy change petition has been filed by our state's building code council for adoption of the 2018 International Fire Code.  This will add code: WAC 51-54A-0319: Mobile food preparation vehicles. New section: 319.1 General. Mobile food preparation vehicles that are equipped with appliances that produce smoke or grease-laden vapors or utilize LP-gas systems or CNG systems shall comply with this system. 105.6.30 Mobile food preparation vehicles, a permit is required for mobile preparation vehicles equipped with appliances that produce smoke or grease-laden vapors or utilize LP-gas systems or CNG systems. WAC 51-54A-008- Implementation.   The Date of Intended Adoption: July 26, 2019  
The International Fire Code adopted by chapter 51-54A WAC shall become effective in all counties and cities of this state on July 1, 2020. Find the 2018 Fire Code here (section 319): https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IFC2018/CHAPTER-3-GENERAL-REQUIREMENTS Vendors can email us for a copy of what will be required of you in Washington state.

04/24- Food Truck Lobby Day 2019!

The second Food Truck Lobby Day was held at our state capitol on Wednesday, where the weather turned out to be perfect. Each of the 16-trucks had a sign indicating the district they were there to represent, a great feature commented on by most in attendance. The trucks served over 3,000 people and at least 28-legislators are on camera enjoying their street-food. Also in attendance was the Governor, who was particularly interested in our 2-featured vendors; Transitions 2 Earth who was there to educate people on compostables and other green cutlery options and the University of Washington’s Engineering students partnered with Seattle City Light to display their Capstone Project of desgining Seattle’s first all -electric food truck.

04/19/2019 - Food Truck Senate Bill Passes 95-0!

A new bill introduced into the 2019 State Legislature. Senate Bill 5218, will now make vending across county lines significantly more cost effective and efficient for mobile food vendors.

Currently, a Plan Review has an average one-time fee of ($500 - $860 per jurisdiction), and the requirements are found in our state food code.  Additional costs to the vendor are incurred due to the time required to complete the lengthy application, travel to the inspection location, as well as potential opportunity costs from being unable to vend during the part of the day required for the inspection.  After the Plan Review has been completed and approved, which can take between 4 - 8 weeks, the mobile food vendor then applies for the Annual Operating Permit ($725 - $1,750 per year, per jurisdiction).   

The passing of this bill, will result in a positive fiscal impact to mobile food vendors due to a reduction in plan review fees. It will also eliminate the costs associated with travel time and opportunity costs incurred while obtaining the Plan Review approvals in neighboring local health jurisdictions, in most cases, it will eliminate the need to maintain commissary kitchens in other jurisdictions ($1,000 to $2,000 per month, in each jurisdiction) and it will benefit event organizers, by creating a larger pool of mobile food vendors who can more readily cross county lines.


04/19/2019- KC Health Releases Commissary Kitchen Exemption Form

HB 2639 passed in 2018 gave mobile vending operators the right to request an exemption from the commissary kitchen requirement if their mobile could meet specific requirements and there is now a form to submit to make this request in King County. Mobile vending units must:

  1. contain all equipment and utensils needed for complete onboard preparation of an approved menu,

  2. Unit is protected from environmental contamination when not in use,

  3. All required food temperatures are maintained during storage, preparation, service, and transit,

  4. Unit must have a dedicated hand wash station to permit frequent hand washing at all times,

  5. must have an adequate water capacity and ware washing facilities to clean all multi-use utensils as specified by WAC 246-215.

  6. Adequate space in the mobile unit must be provided for cleaning and sanitizing tools,

  7. All food, water, and ice is prepared on board or obtained from an approved source,

  8. Wastewater and garbage will be sanitarily removed from the unit following an approved written plan or by a licensed service provider,

  9. Local health officer approves the menu and plan of operations for the unit.