SHB 2639

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Passed Legislature

Title: An act relating to exempting certain mobile food units from state and local regulations pertaining to commissaries or servicing areas.

Brief Description: Exempting certain mobile food units from state and local regulations pertaining to commissaries or servicing areas.

Sponsors: House Committee on Health Care & Wellness (originally sponsored by Representatives Buys, Peterson, Stokesbary, Graves, Stambaugh, Bergquist, Vick, Walsh, Volz, Shea, Blake and Young).

Brief History:

Committee Activity:

Health Care & Wellness: 1/30/18, 1/31/18 [DPS].

Floor Activity:

Passed House: 2/14/18, 98-0.

Passed Senate: 2/27/18, 49-0.

Passed Legislature.

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

  • Exempts certain mobile food units from requirements to store, prepare, portion, and package food in a separate food establishment.


Majority Report: The substitute bill be substituted therefor and the substitute bill do pass. Signed by 16 members: Representatives Cody, Chair; Macri, Vice Chair; Schmick, Ranking Minority Member; Graves, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Caldier, Clibborn, DeBolt, Harris, Jinkins, MacEwen, Maycumber, Riccelli, Robinson, Slatter, Stonier and Tharinger.

Staff: Sydney Sullivan (786-7291) and Jim Morishima (786-7191).


A mobile food unit is a readily moveable food establishment. All mobile food units must be operated from an approved commissary or servicing area. A mobile food unit must return to the commissary or servicing area to obtain supplies, to complete thorough cleaning, and wash utensils.

A licensed owner of a mobile food unit must submit a plan of operation with the following specifications regarding the mobile food unit:

A local board of health may impose additional requirements to protect against health hazards that are related to the operation of a mobile food unit which may include limiting authorized food preparation steps, prohibiting some menu items, and restricting the mode of a mobile food unit's operation when facilities and equipment are inadequate.

"Commissary" means an approved food establishment where food is stored, prepared, portioned, or packaged for service elsewhere.

"Servicing area" means an operating base location to which a mobile food unit or transportation vehicle returns regularly for such things as vehicle and equipment cleaning, discharging liquid or solid wastes, refilling water tanks and ice bins, and boarding food.

Summary of Substitute Bill:

The regulatory authority must approve a mobile food unit's request for exemption from all state and local requirements to operate a mobile food unit from an approved commissary or servicing area if:

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony:

(In support) Exempting mobile food units from having to return to a commissary is important for efficiency. Mobile food unit's kitchens are cleaner, have better equipment, and are better supervised than required commissaries. Commissaries for mobile food units are often hard to come by and are shared spaces with many other people. The requirement for commissaries often results in mobile food units having greater exposure to contamination, because all food must be prepared ahead of time, instead of on an as-needed basis. Exempting qualified mobile food units from having a commissary will not adversely affect public health because mobile food units will still need to be licensed to operate and approved by the regulatory authority.

(Opposed) None.

(Other) The language in the bill should be altered to mandate that the local jurisdiction health authority is in charge of regulating exempt mobile food units.

Persons Testifying: (In support) Representative Buys, prime sponsor; Tim Johnson and Lori Johnson, Washington State Food Truck Association; Jen Gustin; Rick MacDuffie; Turan Wright; Emily Wigley; and Nick Parisi.

(Other) Jaime Bodden, Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: None.