Special Transitory Food Units (STFU) / Food Trucks
A Special Transitory Food Unit (STFU) is a food service operation that serves a limited menu from an enclosed trailer or other approved layout. Once licensed, an STFU can operate throughout the State of Michigan.
These units are generally referred to as Food Trucks.
Requirements to Operate a Special Transitory Food Unit (STFU) / Food Truck
Although each operation is unique, there are some basic items that are required for permanent outdoor food service like an STFU. Read more in this helpful document (PDF).
- An STFU must submit a plan review packet, including a plan review application, fee, menu, standard operating procedures, drawing/photos/layout of trailer, equipment specification sheets, and any other applicable items listed below.
- An STFU must have the equipment and resources to ensure food safety for its menu and operation. This typically includes items such as running water to wash hands and equipment/utensils, a method to sanitize equipment surfaces, a metal stem thermometer, methods of hot and cold holding of foods, and a method of covering and protecting food from customers and the elements.
- An STFU must have the unit’s name and operator’s city on each side of the exterior in letters at least 3 inches high.
- A licensed STFU may operate in any jurisdiction in Michigan. The STFU must submit an STFU Notification of Intent to Operate form to the local health department, notifying the department where it will be operating.
- Once licensed, an STFU must have two paid inspections each year. These inspections may be conducted by any local health department in Michigan. The STFU operator must request an inspection on the STFU Notification of Intent to Operate form and pay the local health department for the inspection.
Items Required for Special Transitory Food Unit (STFU) / Food Truck Plan Review
Submit the following completed materials to the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division. Many of the documents are Word documents that you can open, type your information into, and then print and submit to our office.
See the Plan Submittal Instructions (PDF) for helpful information.
- STFU Plan Review Application and Fee (PDF)
- STFU Plan Review Worksheet and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Drawing/Photos/Layout of the Trailer and Equipment Specification Sheets
- Submit your proposed menu. Remember to include a Consumer Advisory (PDF) if you are serving any raw or undercooked meats, seafood or eggs.
- Certified Food Safety Manager Certificate
- STFUs / Food Trucks must have at least one certified food manager on staff at each location.
How long will the plan review and approval take?
The length of time plan review will take depends mostly on the completeness of the information you submit. Once the information is submitted, our Senior Sanitarians will go through the menu, equipment and standard operating procedures to ensure that all items are completed and meet current guidelines. A letter of approval or denial (detailing the information needed for approval) will be mailed within 30 days from your original submission. Additional information is required on most submittals, so please plan for this.
What happens after I get an approval letter?
The approval letter authorizes you to begin any construction of your unit. If you wish to make changes from the approved plans during the construction process, you must have these changes approved.
As you near the end of the process, contact our office to schedule an appointment for a pre-opening inspection. This is required to ensure that the facility will be operating according to the plans submitted. We do the best we can to meet customer demand, and can usually schedule this inspection within several business days.
At this time, you will also need to submit a Food Service License Application and pay a Food Service License Fee. Although the paper license may take several weeks to process, you are considered licensed once the application and payment are submitted along with appropriate approvals.
When can I open?
Once you have received approval to open on the pre-opening inspection(s) and the license application and fee have been submitted, you can open your facility as long as all other required approvals are in order. Once you are approved to open, you can operate anywhere in the State of Michigan. However, before each time you operate, you must submit an STFU Notice of Intent to Serve form to the health department for that jurisdiction, notifying them the dates and location of your operation.
- If operating in Washtenaw County, please use this online form to submit the STFU Notice of Intent.
- If operating in another county, please complete and submit this form to the appropriate county.
Once I am open, will I be inspected again?
After your initial inspection and approval to open, you will have to request, and pay for, two inspections each license year. These inspections can be completed by any health department in Michigan. You can request the inspections on the STFU Notice of Intent to Serve form and submit the form and inspection fee to the local health department in the jurisdiction you will be operating.
- If operating in Washtenaw County, please use this online form to submit the STFU Notice of Intent and request a paid inspection.
- If operating in another county, please complete and submit this form to the appropriate county to request a paid inspection.
How do I renew my license?
Your food service license expires every April 30. A renewal application will be sent to you in the mail. If you do not receive one by April 1st, please contact our office at 734-222-3800 to avoid late fees. You must have two paid inspections each year to be eligible for license renewal.
If you have any questions, please contact Washtenaw County Environmental Health at 734-222-3800. We are more than happy to help guide you through this process.