Mobile Caterers

As a mobile trader you will have legal duties under the EC Regulation 852/2004 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The following information is to provide you with a general overview of your obligations.


There are revisions to this service due to Coronavirus. Please see the current updates on the Food safety page. 



Food Safety Requirements

  • You must register your mobile premises with the Local Authority in whose area you store the mobile.
  • Staff which handle open, high risk foods must have adequate training.

Initially this must include basic hygiene awareness, such as:

- Food Poisoning Temperature Control
- Cross Contamination Food Storage
- Foreign Body
- Contamination
- Waste Disposal
- Cleaning Procedures Pest Control
- Labelling Instructions Personal Hygiene and
- Fitness to Work

After 3 months, staff must have training equivalent to the Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering.

  • Keeping training certificates/records is good practice for demonstrating competence
  • All proprietors of a food business must ensure that risks to food safety are adequately controlled.
  • Ensuring that you have considered all things that could go wrong is called 'Hazard Analysis Critical Points (HACCP)'

Food safety hazards you may encounter as a mobile trader include:

Physical Contamination

Pests, Jewellery, Hair,  bits of equipment or damaged fittings.

Chemical Contamination

Using products that aren't 'food safe', poor storage of chemical products.

Microbiological Contamination

Poor storage of chilled foood, cross contamination from raw to cooked foods, inadequate cleaning, inadequate cooking and hot holding of food, staff handling food when ill, poor hand washing.

To ensure that you comply with all relevant food safety requirements, you should be able to tick all items on the following checklist:

- Do you have suitable storage facilities for food?
- Do you have adequate space for chilled & frozen food?
- Does your freezer operate at -18°C or below; and your fridge at below +8°C?
- Are you able to cook food to a temperature of at least 75°C?
- Do you have adequate facilities to keep food warm  above 63°C?
- Do you have hand washing facilities with hot and coldwater, soap and paper towels?
- Are there adequate sinks for washing food & equipment?
- Do you have sufficient bactericidal detergent and clean cloths?
- Do you have sufficient containers for clean and waste water?
- Is there any adequate supply of potable water?
- Do you adequate waste bins that are lidded?
- Is the mobile unit in a good state of repair and adequately pest proof?

Health & Safety Requirements

The law requires you to take all steps reasonably practicable to ensure the health and safety of yourself, your staff and your customers.

As an employer you must ensure that health and safety hazards are identified and measures taken to stop things from going wrong. This process is called 'Risk Assessment'.

Health and safety hazards that you are likely to encounter as a mobile trader include:

- Manual Handling
- Scalds & Burns
- Cuts & Lacerations
- Slips/Trips/Falls
- Chemicals
- Fire
- Gas/LPG
- Electrical
- Solitary Working

Whilst all of the hazards listed could cause a serious injury if they happened, those likely to cause the most damage are: fire, electrical and LPG hazards.

Consequently, good practice guidelines are listed below.

  • Don't allow smoking in the vehicle. Keep waste to a minimum.
  • Keep a suitable and serviceable fire extinguisher and fire blanket in the mobile vehicle.
  • Ensure all cooking surfaces are securely fixed onto a non-combustible heat insulating base, and surrounded by a  shield of similar material on 3 sides.

Electricity (larger units with generators)

It is recommended that the supply be 110V where possible. If not, it is advisable to use appropriate Residual Current Devices (RCDs).
Ensure all equipment is properly maintained, with all sockets/plugs correctly wired and suitably fused.
All sockets are waterproof if exposed to inclement weather conditions.
Ensure the unit & equipment is appropriately earthed to minimise the potential for electrocution.

LPG Cylinders (Propane & Butane)

Cylinders must either be located outside of the unit, or stored in a secure, fire-resistant housing which has high and low level ventilation.
The housing must be labelled "Extremely Flammable LPG"
All LPG cylinders must be provided with pressure relief valves and be securely stored in an upright position.
All installation pipe work must be of an approved material, and flexible hosing should be avoided where possible.
If flexible hosing is used, it must be to the required British Standard and secured by crimping or jubilee clips so that it is gas tight.
LPG cylinders must be stored and changed away from sources of ignition.

Additional Requirements

You will need a first aid kit, preferably including a supply of blue plasters.
You will need a HSE approved accident book to record incidents.

Useful documents: