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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Community Event?

“Community Event” is defined as an event that is civic, political, public or educational in nature (Cal Code113755). It includes: state and county fairs, city festivals, circuses and other public gathering events.

What is an Event Organizer/Coordinator and when are they required?

An Event Organizer is a person or organization that is responsible for the coordination, sponsorship or arrangement of a community event. An Event Organizer is required when two or more food/beverage booths will be at an event.

What are the responsibilities of the Event Organizer?

Organizers of food events have an inherent responsibility to the public to provide a safe and healthy event. To allow only approved food vendors to setup at the event and to submit a list of vendors to EHD, two-weeks prior to the event. Provide a site plan indicating adequate space for each vendor to meet proper setbacks. Provide basic sanitation (porta-potty and hand wash stations) for event attendees, Sanitation for vendors is to be within 200 feet of a TFF. Providing, garbage and refuse containers, ice service, potable water, safe electrical hook-ups may also be necessary depending on the event. Monitoring the food vendor’s practices is the most important item. Contact EHD if there are any issues.

Do food vendors need a permit to sell or give away food?

Yes, a permit is required even if the food is given away. The requirements apply to all persons participating in food events, regardless of non-profit status, and include sampling.

Where may a food vendor setup to sell or give away food/drink?

A food vendor may only operate at a community event.

Is a food vendor considered a food facility?

Yes. See section 114381.2 of the California Retail Food Code. A permit application shall be submitted to the enforcement agency by each temporary food facility operator that includes all of the following:

  • A booth plan that indicates the proposed layout of equipment, food preparation tables, food storage, ware washing, and hand washing facilities.
  • Details of the materials and methods used to construct the temporary food facility including required netting/screens/walls.
  • All food products that will be handled and dispensed.
  • The proposed procedures and methods of food preparation and handling.
  • Procedures, methods, and schedules for cleaning utensils, equipment, and structures, and for the disposal of refuse.
  • How food will be transported to and from a permanent food facility or other approved food facility to the temporary food facility. Including steps taken to prevent contamination of foods.
  • How potentially hazardous foods will be maintained at or below 41°F or at or above 135°F.

Why is a health permit required?

The Legislature finds and declares that the public health interest requires that there be statewide health and sanitation standards for food facilities to assure the people of this state, that the food provided to consumers is safe, unadulterated and honestly presented through adoption of science-based standards. Regulations are found in the California Retail Food Code (Cal Code).

My food is I still need a permit?

Yes, a permit is still required. However, certain requirements may not apply if the food is not potentially hazardous (such as; candy, canned soda, bottled water).

I am only selling or giving away drinks ... do I still need a permit?

Yes. Beverages are considered food and a permit is required. The requirements for bottled or canned beverages are the same as for prepackaged food. There are special considerations for non-profit and winery operations.

Can I prepare food at my home for sale/distribution from a temporary food facility?

No. Food intended for public consumption may not be prepared in a home. All food must be obtained from approved sources. Exception: 114339. Non-potentially hazardous beverages and baked goods may be offered for sale, sold, or given away by a nonprofit charitable organization or by an established club or organization that operates under the authorization of a school or educational facility for fundraising purposes at community events. Note: A valid Cottage Food Operation is considered a food facility and may sell food as a vendor.

Do I need a permit if I’m a non-profit organization?

Yes, a permit is required for all food vendors offering food for sale to the public. The potential risk associated with handling food is the same, regardless of where the proceeds go.

Do I need a permit to have a private party?

No. Private parties intended only for members of an organization and/or their invited guests do not require a permit. If the event is advertised to the public; however, then a permit is required.

Do church potlucks or private club dinners need a permit?

No. A church, private club, or other nonprofit association that gives or sells food to its members and guests, and not to the general public, at an event that occurs not more than three days in any 90-day period.

How long is the permit valid?

The permit issued to a temporary food facility vendor may be valid for up to one year, or the vendor may choose to get a permit for only a single event. 

The permit issued to the event organizer is valid only for the duration of that specific community event. A new application must be submitted, and a new permit obtained for each community event.

I already have a permit for my restaurant in Placer County. Does that permit me to participate in temporary events?

No. The permit for your restaurant is site-specific and does not transfer to any other location. However, when you apply for a Temporary Food Facility permit you may also apply for a fee reduction.

Are other fee reductions available? 

Yes. Honorably Discharged Veterans with a DD-214, nonprofit organizations with 501(c) 3 documentation, and Caterers, and Mobile Food Facilities (Food Truck) with a valid permit in good standing, may also apply for a fee reduction.

When do I need to submit my application?

At least 2 weeks prior to the event to allow adequate time to review the application, vendor list, and make any necessary adjustments and modifications.

Is there a printable version of this FAQ?

pdf FAQ