Temporary Food Events
A Temporary Food Establishment Permit Application (SOLICITUD PARA EL SERVICIO TEMPORAL DE ALIMENTOS ) is needed for food establishments that operate at a fixed location in conjunction with a single event or celebration. A late fee of $25.00 will be charged if the application and payment is received less than three business days prior to the event (includes the day the payment is received, excludes day of event). Applications must be filled out completely.
A Reoccurring Temporary Food Service Permit Application (SOLICITUD PARA EL SERVICIO TEMPORAL DE ALIMENTOS RECURRENTES) is needed for food events that operate at a fixed location on the same day(s) each week for an extended period of time such as a farmers' market. These permits are specific to location and cannot be transferred to a different even or location. All applications must be received at least 3 days before the first even occurrence to avoid a late fee.
Review the Temporary Food Establishments Requirements for important information about operating requirements, food safety, and handwashing stations.
Some vendors may be exempt from permit. The list for exempt food items can be found on the Exempt From Permit Application. All applications must be received at least three days before the first event occurrence. If you have questions about this application, please contact the Health Department at (509) 524-2650.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a temporary food establishment?
A temporary food establishment is a food establishment that operates at a fixed location, with a fixed menu, for no more than 21 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration, such as a fair or festival: or
Operating not more than three days a week at a fixed location, with a fixed menu, in conjunction with an APPROVED, recurring, organized event, such as a farmers’ market.
What events require a temporary food establishment permit?
Individuals or groups planning to hold events that are open to the public must obtain a permit. Walla Walla County Department of Community Health requires that each food booth or vendor operating during an event obtains a temporary permit.
What is a public event?
A public event is any organized event advertised in any way to the public, such as flyers, newspaper articles or ads, radio, or social media. A public event is open to the public and offers food during the event. The requirements do not change if the food sold is for profit or provided at no charge.
Examples include fund raising events, customer appreciation day, grand openings, community festivals, concert events, craft fairs, heritage festivals, sporting events, monster trucks, etc.
Examples that would not be considered an event, operating a temporary food establishment every Friday at a store not associated with any other special activity, operating a temporary food establishment at your home, or business on a regular basis.
What permits do I need to sell food at a fair, festival or community event?
You need to purchase a Temporary Food Establishment Permit from our office. Please contact our office at least two (2) weeks before your event, so we can process the application and issue a permit before purchasing or preparing food. For more information, please visit our Food Permits webpage.
Do I still need a permit if I am not charging for the food?
Yes, you still need a permit.
I have a current food worker card. Do I still need a temporary food establishment permit?
Yes, you still need a permit.
I am organizing an event and I want to invite multiple food vendors. What do I need to do?
Please contact our environmental health staff at 509-524-2650 to discuss your event and coordinate the requirements for vendors.
I am a permitted caterer in Walla Walla County. Do I need a permit to offer food at an event?
Caterers are not exempt from temporary food establishment permits even though they may currently have a permit. Caterers who choose to operate at a temporary event must apply for a temporary food establishment permit.
I am a permitted restaurant, grocery store or other food establishment. Do I need a permit to offer food at an event.
Permitted food establishments are not exempt from temporary food establishment permits even though they may currently have a permit. Permitted food establishments who choose to operate at a temporary event must apply for a temporary food establishment permit.
I am a permitted mobile food unit in Walla Walla County. Do I need a permit to offer food at an event?
Permitted mobile units may operate anytime, anywhere in Walla Walla County including events (with the coordinators permission). If you bring the mobile unit to the event and are offering the same menu items as listed in your approved plan of operation, you need no additional permits from our office. Mobile units must have a local commissary kitchen to service the mobile unit. All food service must be offered and prepared within the mobile unit at the event the use of tables, tents outside of the unit is prohibited.
I have a mobile food unit permit in a nearby county. Do I need a permit?
Yes, you still need a permit. In addition, you will also be required to prove compliance with Labor & Industries review and approval processes.
I am coming from another state. Can I get a permit to operate at an event in Walla Walla County?
Yes, you can obtain a permit, but all food preparation must be completed on-site or at an approved commissary within Walla Walla or other Washington County. Unfortunately, Washington and Oregon operate under significantly different food service regulations that we are currently unable to reconcile.
What type of equipment do I need to operate at a temporary food event?
In addition to a hand washing sink, you need to have enough functioning equipment to keep temperature controlled foods at the proper temperature. The outdoor booths must have an overhead cover over storage areas, food preparation, cooking and serving areas. You need walls when it is necessary to protect food and food equipment from the elements or pests.
If you use ice chests, ensure you have enough ice to completely submerge food so that it can hold food at 41°F or less. Keep ice chests and refrigerators out of direct sunlight. Equipment must hold food at 135°F or hotter. Stern chafers are not allowed at events unless the event is indoors and less than four hours. You must have a thermometer to ensure foods are holding properly and are cooked to the proper temperatures. A 3 basin dishwashing setup (wash, Rinse, Sanitize) and produce washing setup for anyone washing produce.
For more information on setting up and operating temporary food establishments, please see the application for Temporary Food Establishment Operation.
What type of produce am I allowed to offer at a temporary food establishment event?
You must purchase pre-washed produce, or you must wash your produce at an approved commercial kitchen or permitted food establishment, or through the proper setup of a mobile produce washing station at the event. You cannot wash produce in a residential kitchen.
Where do I clean utensils?
For one day events you may, bring enough extra utensils for the following: to change out utensils every four hours, to replace dropped utensils and to replace other contaminated utensils. You must change utensils that come in contact with Temperature controlled foods every four hours if utensil cleaning facilities are not available on site.
If you are to wash utensils on site you must have an appropriate basins, to wash (warm Water), Rinse, and sanitize. These basins must be able to be properly drained and refilled at the event as needed.
My proposed menu requires advanced preparation of food. Can I make and prepare food at home?
You may not make food at home for sale to the public unless it is for a bake sale. You may not prepare any foods on site that require multiple steps or extensive assembly. You must make any advanced menu preparation in a commercial kitchen with equipment to support your menu.
Can I cook food, cool it down, and reheat it later for service?
No, hot food must be made the day of the event, held hot and served. Discard any leftover hot food; do not save and re-serve it to the public.
Do I need any additional permits to have a temporary food establishment event?
The local municipality may require a permit for gathering in a public area or to vend food on a public right-of-way. Contact the city or county in which you are operating for more information.
How do I find out more information?
If you have additional questions, please call our office at 509-524-2650 to leave a message or schedule an appointment.