Specific Information for Push Carts (PC)
- PCs must meet equipment requirements from the North Carolina Food Code, sections 4-1 and 4-2. If a PC is accredited American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or an equivalent agency, then it meets these requirements. However, if it is not accredited, then the owner must provide evidence that demonstrates these requirements are met. Items to consider for this:
- Must be corrosion resistant, non-toxic, and must not impart color, taste, or odor to food. Cast iron, lead, copper, galvanized metal, wood, or paint cannot be used in areas that contact food.
- Exposed surfaces shall be smooth and easily cleanable.
- Surfaces shall be free of breaks, open seams, cracks, chips, pits, and similar imperfections.
- Must be designed to prevent vermin, dirt, and splash from entering the body of the PC.
- Food zones (equipment or surfaces in direct contact with food, or surfaces that food may contact and then drain, drip or splash back into food) shall be readily accessible and easily cleanable.
- No sharp internal angles (minimum 1/8-inch radius).
- Joints, seams, external angles, and corners must be sealed and smooth.
- Sealants can only be used on joints and seams less than 1/8 inch wide.
- Fasteners cannot be used in food contact areas. Fasteners used in other areas must not have deep recesses in the fastener head.
- Framing members must be easily cleanable and designed to prevent vermin harborage. Hollow channels must be closed at each end.
- Doors must fit properly, and form tight seals.
- Hinges in food or splash contact areas must be easily cleanable while in place, or be designed to be disassembled without tools. Continuous (piano type) hinges cannot be used in these areas.
- Wheel housings must be provided where necessary to prevent contamination of food and splash zones.
- Vents or louvers must be designed to deflect spills, or be easily removable for cleaning.
- Food serving areas, such as the steam wells, on the PC must have a cover on the front, top and ends of this area that exposes only as much of this area as necessary to allow handling and serving of hot dogs. Umbrellas and canopies do not meet this requirement.
- If provided, a waste tank must be at least 15% larger than the potable water tank, and must provide enough capacity for operations. Water inlets must be protected from contamination and designed to preclude attachment to a non-potable service connection.
- Hot food holding equipment must be capable of maintaining food at 135°F, and reheating food from 41°F to 165 °F within two hours. If provided, cold food storage compartments must be capable of maintaining a product temperature of 41°F or less.
Menu and Food
- The only food item that can be prepared, handled, or served is a hot dog. All other foods must be prepared, pre-portioned, and individually pre-wrapped at the commissary. The wrapper shall enclose the food product, but does not have to be sealed. This means that all food served from the PC is required to be precooked. No raw food cooking is allowed, and no cooling of cooked food is allowed for service. If food is reheated and stored hot on the PC, then it is not allowed to cool for later use, since PCs cannot adequately support cooling processes on site or during transport.
- If food is pre-wrapped, then it must also have a label on it that states the following:
- Name of the food establishment
- Name of the food item
- Time and date of expiration
- Pre-portioned and individually pre-wrapped food cannot be sold after the specified time period for human consumption.
- If food with raw ingredients will be handled (such as raw sausages), the food product must be ready to cook only, but will also require hand sink installation, which will further require water supply and wastewater collection and disposal. If this is the option you are considering, then careful planning is required to manage water use and collection.
- Portable coolers with drain spouts may be used for holding food at required temperatures. However, you must account for environmental conditions, such as heat and direct exposure of the cooler to sun, where the cooler is maintained. Monitoring of foods requiring temperature control is important in these conditions, and having enough ice available to replenish ice melt will need consideration.
- PCs must be stored in an area that protects from dirt, debris, vermin, and other contamination. This means the PC must be covered or stored in a protective environment that offers enclosure, and prevents direct exposure to accumulation of dust, chemical treatments, and weather events.
- No seating shall be provided.
- No consumer self-service is allowed. This includes condiments and packaged goods.
- If you must leave a location for brief periods, you cannot leave the PC with no monitoring. This is a food safety concern. The PC and the food with it must be protected by the owner or operator at all times.