Food Truck Laws & Regulations


Food truck laws and regulations can be complex and difficult to understand. In this article, we will break down the key points that business owners need to be aware of when starting a food truck business. We will cover local, state and federal laws and regulations, as well as what business licenses and registration are required.

This article provides food truck business owners with the information they need to get started on the right foot.


Food Truck Regulations

When it comes to food truck regulations, it is important to adhere to the rules and regulations set by your local, state and federal government. Not doing so can result in fines, or even the closure of your food truck business.

Examples of food truck regulations and laws include:

  1. Commercial Driver’s License
  2. Interstate Commerce Laws
  3. Food Sanitation Regulations
  4. Taxation
  5. Employment Laws
  6. Vehicle and Equipment Regulations

Most of these regulations and laws affect new food truck owners on some level.


Federal Laws for Food Trucks

The food truck industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). All food trucks must comply with the FMCSA’s regulations, which include requirements for driver safety, vehicle safety and cargo security.

In order to operate a food truck, you must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). To qualify for a CDL, you must be at least 21 years old and have a minimum of two years’ driving experience. You must also pass a written test and a driving test.

The FMCSA also sets safety standards for food trucks, which include requirements for food storage, cooking equipment and wastewater disposal. All food truck operators must comply with these standards in order to maintain their federal operating authority.


State Laws for Food Trucks

Each state has its own laws governing the food truck industry. It is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your state, as they may be different from those at the federal level.

For example, some states require food trucks to have a business license in addition to a CDL. Other states may have specific regulations governing where food trucks can park or what type of food they can serve.

The most important food truck laws and regulations are listed below:

– Commercial Driver’s License (CDL): All food truck drivers must have a CDL in order to operate a food truck.

– Zoning: Food trucks must comply with any zoning regulations that apply to their area. This includes regulations on where food trucks can park and sell food.

– Health and Safety: Food trucks must comply with all health and safety regulations, including food safety and hygiene laws.

It is important to research all applicable laws and regulations before starting a food truck business.


Local Laws for Food Trucks

In addition to complying with federal and state laws, food trucks must also meet local laws. This includes regulations on where food trucks can park and sell food, as well as food safety and hygiene laws.

Like state laws, it is important to research all applicable laws and regulations before starting a food truck business.

Let’s look at some food truck laws and regulations in more depth:


Business Licenses and Registration

In order to operate a food truck business, you will need to obtain a business license and register your food truck with your local government. The requirements for obtaining a business license vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your local government agency for specific information.


Local Health Department Requirements

All food trucks are required to meet the health and safety requirements set by their local health department. This may include submitting a food safety plan, undergoing regular inspections, and complying with certain sanitation standards.


Zoning Parking on Private Property Permits

Municipalities have zoning regulations that restrict food trucks from parking on private property without a permit. In order to park your food truck on private property, you will need to apply for and receive a zoning parking permit from the municipality in which the property is located.


Food Handling and Sanitation Laws

Food truck owners must comply with all food handling and sanitation laws. This includes food safety and hygiene laws, as well as regulations on food storage, cooking equipment and wastewater disposal.

All food trucks must have a food safety plan in place, and operators must ensure that their food truck is in compliance with all health and safety regulations. Regular inspections by the local health department are also required.

In order to maintain compliance with food handling and sanitation laws, food truck owners must ensure that their food truck is kept clean and sanitized at all times. This includes regular cleaning of the interior and exterior of the truck, as well as the cooking equipment and utensils.


Vehicle Maintenance

It is important to keep your food truck in good condition by performing regular vehicle maintenance. This includes checking the tires, brakes, and fluid levels, as well as performing routine engine maintenance.

Some states might require food trucks to undergo an emissions test in order to ensure that the truck meets air quality standards.

It is also important to keep food truck equipment clean and sanitized. This includes the cooking equipment, utensils, and food storage areas. Sanitation standards must be followed at all times in order to prevent food contamination.


Employment Laws

As a food truck business owner, it is important to be familiar with the employment laws that apply to your state. This includes laws on minimum wages, overtime, worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance.

It is important to note that food truck employees are considered “wage workers” under the law. This means that they are entitled to the same protections as other wage workers, such as minimum wage and overtime pay.

Food truck owners should also be familiar with the workers’ compensation laws in their state. Under the workers’ compensation law, food truck employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job are entitled to benefits, including medical expenses and income replacement.

Finally, food truck owners should be aware of their state’s unemployment insurance laws. Unemployed food truck employees may be eligible for temporary financial assistance if they lose their jobs through no fault of their own.



Starting a food truck business can be a rewarding and exciting endeavor. However, it is important to be aware of the food truck laws and regulations that apply to your business. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your food truck business is compliant with all local, state and federal laws.