In today’s uncertain times, many households are looking for a second income and very often the sale of food items may seem to be an easy way of making extra cash. But before you dive into this project, it is best to do your research and educate yourself on what is required. (Article updated 2019)
So you think you are ready to start building (or converting) a food truck or a caravan for this purpose? Sorry to disappoint you - before you pick up a tool you first need to read Regulation R638 - the "Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises, the Transport of Food and Related Matters" as this governs general hygienic requirements for food premises and the transport of food.
Note: this replaces the old R962, and is more stringent on the GMPs than the previous version. There are a number of changes in the regulation, but take special note of the changes relating to the duties of the "Person in Charge" of food premises. If you want to read more about the changes, please have a look at these artices:
To comply with the law you will need a Certificate of Acceptability (COA) - and yes, this applies to food trucks too!
A business licence is generally required for businesses that need to comply with health and safety regulations. As making, selling and serving food can impact on public health, you’ll need a licence to do so. Even if you are selling food and meals from a food truck, which you take from place to place or sell from a vehicle, you’ll need a Certificate of Acceptability.
Once you have understood the requirements of the regulation 638, then can the design and construction of the food truck begin. It is strongly advised that an Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) is contacted before any money is spent on the construction of the food truck.
Useful tip: Environmental Health Practitioners were previously called Health Inspectors and they can be contacted at your local municipality's Health and Social Development Department.
You will need to make an appointment with the EHP to find out all the various departments that need to be contacted.
The EHP can assist with this information:
Here are a few pointers with regards the design and construction of the food truck:
Useful tip: Avoid using subgrade materials during the construction or alteration stages, as these may turn out expensive to redo or replace. Much time and money will be saved by consulting the EHP in depth on each stage of the project, with the implementation of their recommendation.
ARTICLE UPDATED: May 2019
See the related articles below for more useful startup information.