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Compact Mobile Food Operations (CMFO)

Compact Mobile Food Cart

Compact Mobile Food Operations (CMFO)

Senate Bill 972 (Gonzalez) was enacted and becomes effective January 1, 2023. This new bill changes the California Retail Food Code by establishing a new Chapter in the California Retail Food Code (CRFC) titled “Compact Mobile Food Operations.” These changes were intended to promote economic inclusion while modernizing the CRFC so that sidewalk food vendors can obtain a permit and join the regulated vending economy.

What is a Compact Mobile Food Operation (CMFO)?

The new type of food facility is called a Compact Mobile Food Operation (CMFO). A CMFO is a type of mobile food facility that operates from any of the following:

  • An individual, stand, showcase, rack, or display – may be exempt from permitting if offering less than 25 sq feet of prepackaged non-potentially hazardous food

  • A stand, showcase, rack, display – limited to the sale of prepackaged non-potentially hazardous foods

  • A pushcart, pedal-driven cart, wagon, or other nonmotorized conveyance – may be approved for limited food preparation

  • Must meet all the requirements listed in Chapter 10 (Mobile Food Facilities), except as provided for in the new Chapter 11.7 (Compact Mobile Food Operations).

  • Is required to operate in conjunction with a commissary, mobile support unit or other facility approved by the enforcement agency.

A CMFO is not:
  • A pop-up tent with multiple pieces of equipment set up. All equipment must be integral as part of a pushcart, pedal-driven cart, wagon, or other nonmotorized conveyance.

  • Motorized Mobile Food Facility

How to apply for a CMFO:

1. Review the Matrix

2.  Read Storage and Commissary Guidelines

3. Review Prepackaged Cart or Unpackaged Cart Requirements

4. Submit a CMFO Application 

5. Read Frequently Asked Questions

6. Sign up for important Environmental Health Services CMFO updates

Supported Vending Sites – Coming soon!

*Exemptions: CMFOs that have less than 25 square feet of display space and sell only non-perishable prepackaged food or whole, uncut fruit and produce.


For more information on CMFO requirements, please contact San Mateo County Environmental Health Services Food Program at  or 650-372-6200.