FAQs for Temporary Food Facilities
What is a Community Event?
A Community Event is conducted for not more than 25 consecutive or nonconsecutive days in a 90-day period and that is of civic, political, public, or educational nature, including state and county fairs, city festivals, circuses, and other public gathering events approved by the local enforcement agency.
What is a Temporary Food Facility (TFF)?
A TFF is a food facility approved by the enforcement officer that operates at a fixed location for the duration of an approved community event.
Can I sell home prepared food or beverage items at a Community event?
No. Home prepared foods from unlicensed facilities are not allowed to be sold or given away to the public. All food must be from approved commercial sources and must be prepared inside an approved booth or a licensed commercial food facility. The exception is foods prepared in a registered or permitted cottage food operation (CFO).
Do I need a health permit for Community Events?
Yes. When food or beverage items are served to the general public (selling or giving away), a health permit is required.
What are the requirements for a Community Event?
How do I obtain the application for a Community Event?
The Directions and Requirements for Temporary Food Facilities packet can be obtained by calling Contra Costa Environmental Health at 925-692-2500 or download the PDF.
Is there a deadline to apply for a Community Event?
Yes, the completed application and applicable fees must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior the Community Event. Late fees will be applied for applications submitted within 2 weeks of the event.
Who is required to submit the application?
The coordinator of the Community Event is responsible for submitting the complete application and fees, which includes information and forms for each food and beverage vendor. Non-profit and for-profit vendors are required to contact the event coordinator to participate as a temporary food facility in a community event.
What are the fees to obtain a Community Event health permit?
There is an application fee for each Community Event and an additional permit fee for each for-profit booth operating within the event. Therefore, the total for the event will vary depending on the number of food and beverage booths. Please refer to the current fee schedule.
Does this additional per booth fee apply to every vendor who operates at the Community Event?
No. The per booth fee only applies to for-profit booths. Non-profit booths and individuals with veteran’s exemption do not have to pay a per booth fee. Each non-profit status booth must provide documentation and tax I.D. to verify their non-profit status. Each veteran booth must submit a copy of their DD214 form.
In addition, mobile food facilities (vehicles) with an annual health permit from Contra Costa County are exempt from paying the additional booth fee. Each vehicle operating within a Community Event must complete the Vendor/Operator Information form with signature and submit a copy of their current health permit to the event coordinator.
If the Community Event is strictly non-profit, am I still required to pay the application fee?
Yes. An application fee is required for all Community Events. This fee is non-refundable and applies to every Community Event regardless of the nature of the event. Non-profit booths and vendors claiming veteran's status are not excluded from paying this application fee and are not exempt from any of the requirements in the operation of TFF. Non-Profit Charitable TFFs may operate up to four times annually. These four time periods shall not exceed 72 hours each.
Do I need a fully enclosed booth?
Yes, if you are preparing (ex. slicing, chopping, cutting, mixing, etc.), sampling, storing, or serving non-prepackaged food or beverage items. The booth must:
- Be large enough to accommodate all activities involved to provide safe handling, preparation, storage, and service of the food and beverages (ex. smoothies).
- Have pass-through windows that do not exceed 216 square inches. Pass through-windows and doors must be equipped with tight-fitting flaps or closures.
Do I need a fully enclosed booth if I am only serving whole uncut produce, pre-packaged food or beverages?
No. Prepackaged food, beverages (canned/bottled), or alcoholic beverages (ex. beer; wine; distilled) that are properly labeled and have been commercially packaged by a licensed or approved manufacturer, do not need a fully enclosed booth. Pre-packaged TFFs require overhead protection. Handwashing facilities are highly recommended.
What are the additional requirements to operate a booth at a Community Event?
- The identification of the booth operator must be visible to patrons and include the operator/company name, city, state and zip code.
- If non-prepackaged food or beverages are handled and served, a handwashing station with warm water (100°F) from a container with a hands free spigot, liquid hand soap, paper towels, and a wastewater catch basin must be provided.
- If non-prepackaged food or beverages are handled and served, a utensil washing set up must be provided; including three containers or a three compartment sink with drain boards. The first compartment shall have warm detergent water; second compartment shall have clean rinsing water; and the third compartment shall have adequate sanitizer solution.
- If non-prepackaged food or beverages (ex. smoothies) are handled and served, the floor surface inside the booth must be constructed of concrete, asphalt, tight wood, or other cleanable materials.
- If non-prepackaged food or beverages (ex. dairy products) are handled and served, a food grade probe thermometer must be provided to ensure proper hot and cold holding temperatures.
- Store all food and beverages at least 6 inches off the floor.
- Provide adequate garbage disposal containers.
- Beverage booths must provide catch basins below each serving area.
What kind of equipment is allowed outside of the booth?
As per fire department requirements, cooking equipment with an exposed open flame (ex. BBQ) or large amount of oil/grease exposure must be stored outside the booth. The cooking equipment must be closed off from public entrance.
Are there any other requirements I should be aware of regarding the cooking of foods as a TFF at a Community Event?
The fire department may have additional requirements regarding the use of cooking equipment and the set-up or construction of a food booth. See a list of the additional requirements the fire department may have.
What kind of food preparation is allowed outside of the booth?
The only food preparation that is allowed outside of the booth is cooking over exposed flame (ex. BBQ) or in oil based fryers.
Can I set up a table or a booth in front of my restaurant or market within a Community Event?
All food and beverage booths operating within a Community Event must be included in the Community Event application as a TFF.