Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey are three states that require a permit, certificate or license in order to operate an ice cream truck. In some states, this requirement applies only to certain ice cream trucks, such as those that offer unpackaged food items. Many cities also issue licenses to operators.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation's Division of Hotels and Restaurants handles licensing issues regarding mobile food trucks, theme park food vendors, restaurants and temporary food service event vendors. The department lists any truck, cart or vehicle that offers unpackaged food items as needing a DBPR License, whereas those trucks serving only unpackaged ice cream or other food items do not need the license.
Massachusetts requires ice cream truck operators to have a valid permit from the Permitting Authority of the operator's home city or city of operation. The state also requires that this permit sit within plain sight on the windshield of the ice cream truck, or else the operator may be subject to violation fines.
Mobile food truck operators in New Jersey receive their licenses from the cities in which they operate, but the State of New Jersey requires a Business Registration Certificate for anyone doing business within the state, including ice cream truck operators.