The Thurston County Board of Health will consider a new policy at its Feb. 14 board meeting. The policy would use annual mobile food permits with a variance to allow for routine food vending by operators using booth-style shelters and set-ups. Examples of this would be those at public events, such as festivals, fairs or markets. This policy would allow operators to operate at multiple locations, with a temporary set-up, throughout the year and not limited to public events. 

In May 2022, the Board of Health directed staff to develop a pathway to allow food vendors to operate year-round at multiple locations and without connection to public events. Staff established a pilot program that allowed food vendors to operate year-round at multiple venues using temporary food set-ups. These establishments were inspected frequently, and the results informed the proposal to be presented to the board.  

Under the proposal, the vendor would need to meet the following conditions:  

  • Work from an approved commissary
  • Have a limited menu that is supported by the equipment used to make it
  • Have mechanical refrigeration, not coolers and ice
  • Have a commercial-grade handwash cabinet with a water heater, a pump and a minimum five-gallon tank
  • The sales locations would need prior approval by the property owner and jurisdictions, and 
  • Have a Certified Food Protection Manager, like ServSafe or a similar course that is good for five years

Vendors would use a mobile food application to apply for an annual permit. A variance would allow a permit to be issued despite the vendor not having a food truck or trailer. 

A decision from the board is not expected until the March meeting, so there can be more time to gather feedback and comments.  

If you have comments regarding this proposal, please reach out to Director of Local and Federal Government Affairs John Lane at , and they can be shared with the Board of Health staff.