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Unpermitted Food Vendors

Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health (DEH) works to safeguard public health and ensure food provided to consumers is safe, unadulterated, and honestly presented, by regulating the food sold or distributed to the public.  Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health (DEH) works to safeguard public health and ensure food provided to consumers is safe, unadulterated, and honestly presented, by regulating the food sold or distributed to the public.
 
Who are unpermitted food vendors?

Unpermitted food vendors are people who are selling/pedaling food on a cart, table, back of the car trunk, or from their home without a permit to operate from the Department of Environmental Health.

The California Retail Food Code Section 114387 requires that all individuals who provide food to the public obtain a permit to operate.
 
What are some health concerns associated with unpermitted food vendor who sell food?

• Poor personal hygiene 
• No food safety training for people who handle the food
• No handwashing available
• Unknown where the food was purchased 
• Food is undercooked
• No refrigerators to keep food cold
• Food is not kept hot and left out all day 
• Unsafe cooking equipment
• Food may be prepared in a dirty home kitchen, in the garage, in a backyard, or outside 
• No restrooms
• Sick employees preparing food
• Food stored or prepared on the floor and on dirty surfaces 
• Chopping food using dirty knives or cutting boards
• Insects or rodents in the home

 

Where do unpermitted food vendors sell?

• From the trunk of a car
• On the street corners/parking lot with a  table set up
• From their homes; in their dining room, garage, or backyard (i.e. underground dining)
• Outside stadiums after a sporting event, concert, or show

 

How do you know of a food vendor is permitted with Santa Clara County?
 
A permit decal (sticker) is visible on their food cart, food truck or trailer.
 
If the permit expires, it is no longer valid until they owner obtains a new permit. Permits from another county are only valid in the county of issuance.  Food vendors are required to obtain a permit from each jurisdiction they operate in.

Who should I notify if I suspect someone is selling food without a valid permit (home, cart, truck)?
If you know of a vendor or suspect a vendor who is selling their food without a permit, contact the Department of Environmental Health at 408-918-3400 or send us an email.

Please provide us the following information:

• Day and time the food is being sold
• The specific location including cross streets if no address is available
• The type of food sold and how (on a cart, street corner, back of trunk, under a tent, at a home)

Protect your family

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Keep you and your family safe. Be Smart and Eat Safe!
 
The Department of Environmental Heath protects the public by inspecting facilities to ensure the food is being safely prepared at your favorite restaurant, grocery, truck, and cart. Our goal is to prevent the public from becoming ill with a foodborne illness (sometimes called "foodborne disease," "foodborne infection," or "food poisoning"). If you suspect a food vendor is unpermitted, report them to the Department of Environmental Health.

Last updated: 9/12/2018 11:42 AM