The following definitions may be referenced along with the definition of a Food Establishment as defined in the Food Code (TFER).
Mobile Food Unit (MFU) - a term used in the Texas Health and Safety Code to describe all types of permitted mobile food establishments mounted on a vehicle. This is synonymous with the term Mobile Food Establishment used in the Texas Food Establishment Rules. The term Mobile Food Unit is used by NET Health to describe a single mobile food establishment regardless of its type.
- Mobile Food Unit – Full Service. A commercial kitchen on wheels.
- Mobile Food Unit – Limited Service. Cooking is not done on board the vehicle. A truck selling premade burritos or sandwiches falls into this category along with Roadside Vendors selling items such as packaged frozen raw meats.
- Non-TCS Pushcart. This category of mobile food unit includes carts that serve all packaded product from a permitted commissary base. An example of this vehicle is a ice cream pushcart.
- TCS Pushcart. This pushcart serves open foods or beverages. It also contains the necessary sink arrangement for washing hands and utensils. An example of this vehicle is a hot dog pushcart. Note: A pushcart is not allowed to have a grill and the menu is limited to simple preparation steps due to the small footprint of the mobile food unit.
Fixed Food Establishment (FFE) - A Food Establishment operating in a permanently constructed structure permitted and approved for the purpose of storing, preparing, serving, packaging, or otherwise providing food for human consumption at the retail level for the ultimate consumer. Fixed Food Establishment does not include a Temporary Food Establishment or Mobile Food Unit.
Central Preparation Facility/Commissary and Servicing Area - A facility that is an approved and permitted as the operating base location to which a mobile food unit returns regularly, a minimum of once daily, for such things as vehicle and equipment cleaning, discharging liquid or solid wastes, refilling water tanks and ice bins, advanced preparation, stocking supplies and parking when not in operation. Commissary is a permitted food facility that acts as the base of operations for a mobile food unit. A commissary provides necessary facilities that cannot be provided by the mobile food unit. These services include storage of food, paper goods and supplies, a place to dispose of garbage and grease. A commissary provides a place to fill fresh water tanks and dispose of waste water. It provides a place for overnight parking when the unit is not in operation and provides electrical outlets to support equipment while parked at the commissary. It may provide a place to do some or all food preparation. The services provided will depend on the needs of the mobile food unit.
Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food (TCS) means a food or beverage that requires time or temperature controls to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin growth. Refer to the TFER or FDA Food Code for the complete definition. Formerly termed “Potentially Hazardous Food”.