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Food Safety: FAQ - Temporary Events

What is a temporary event?

A Temporary Event is a single community event or celebration that occurs for a period of time not longer than fourteen consecutive days. This may include town celebrations, fairs, and festivals. Temporary events do not include: regularly scheduled series of events (flea markets, sporting arenas, concert halls); events serviced by licensed caterers; or sporadic promotional events such as grand openings.


What is the difference between a Mobile Retail Food License and a Temporary Retail Food License?
The main difference between the two is that mobile establishments have to meet more stringent guidelines. Mobile units may be operational year-round, whereas a temporary booth could potentially set up for only one event for one day each year, thus the less restrictive standards for them especially concerning equipment. In addition, mobile units are allowed to operate at multiple locations, whereas the temporary booth may only set up as part of an organized event (a temporary vendor cannot sell five days a week on the corner for example).


If I am a Licensed Mobile unit, do I need to fill out a Temporary Event Vendor Application?
Yes. Mobile units are required to fill out a Vendor Application. Please note that if you are serving separate from your mobile unit (meaning that you set up a tent instead of using your mobile unit), then you will be required to obtain an additional license.


Why do licensed Retail Food Establishments have to pay for an additional license?
The food license that you obtained is good for your restaurant only.  Once operations occur outside the premises (not including the patio), a separate license is required due to the fact that the operations can be completely different from what occurs at the restaurant.


What is the fee for a Temporary Food Establishment License?
The license fee will either be $115.00 or $255.00.  The fee will be $115.00 if you serve pre-packaged items such as pre-wrapped burritos, or ice cream bars in the package.  If you are serving items that will need to be handled or prepared on-site then the license fee will be $255.00. Note: if you have multiple booths and/or units, each booth/unit will need to obtain a license.


Do I need a license if I am only selling pre-packaged foods?
Maybe. If you are selling non-potentially hazardous foods then no, you do not need a license (foods such as bottled soda, candy bars, and bagged chips). If you are selling potentially hazardous prepackage items then yes, you will need a Retail Food Establishment License (such as prepackaged ice cream, wrapped burritos, etc.). Contact the Health Department if you are unsure of whether your food would be considered potentially hazardous at 970-304-6415.


Do I have to get a new license for each event or will one license cover me for the year?
Only one license will need to be obtained for the calendar year.  Please note that if you want to obtain a Temporary Retail Food Establishment license that the completed application must be submitted at least 10 business days in advance of the event or you may not be approved for that event.


When will a license be issued?
For temporary event licenses, a license will be issued when all required paperwork is submitted and approved by the Department. In most cases a license will be mailed to the licensee prior to the event, however, in some cases a license may be hand delivered at the time of the event.


When should vendor applications be submitted?
All applications for temporary food establishments must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the event. Note: incomplete or missing applications may prevent you from operating at a temporary event.


When should Coordinator Applications be submitted?
Coordinator applications and a final list of vendors should be submitted at least 10 days prior to the event.


Can I prepare or store food products at home?
No, if a licensed facility.
A licensed facility, as per the regulations, cannot make or store any food product for sale at their home residence. The facility must use a commissary, or cook the food product on site. 
Yes, if a Non-Profit, but Strongly Discouraged. Non-profits are not licensable, and therefore do not have to prepare food at a licensed commissary. The Health Department strongly recommends that the Non-profit try to find a kitchen other than a home kitchen to make the food product (such as a church kitchen, community center, etc.).


Is the use of Sterno as a heat source allowed?
No. All equipment must be able to maintain a constant heat/cold source, through means such as electricity, propane, generator, etc.


What is required for proper hand washing set up at a temporary event?
At a minimum, the following is required: 

  1. soap
  2. paper towels
  3. a container with warm water with a constant flow spigot (not a button style)
  4. a wastewater catch bucket


Is bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods allowed?
No.  You may not contact any ready-to-eat foods with your bare hands. You must use gloves, tongs, deli tissue, or other approved means in order not to contact ready-to-eat foods with you bare hands. What is a ready-to-eat food? Foods that will not go through another cook step, examples include: sandwiches, cheese for the hamburger, bread, sliced fruit, etc).


Am I a non-profit if I donate all proceeds to a non-profit organization?
Maybe. You are considered a non-profit as long who you are donating to is a licensed 501-C-3 and they are aware that you are going to be holding the event for them (meaning you cannot hold an event for Non-Profit A, if they do not know you are holding the event for them). You are not considered a non-profit if you are holding an event to send someone abroad, to pay for his or her medical bills, etc. In that case, you are considered licensable and thus would need to obtain a Retail Food Establishment License.


Does a Non-Profit have to obtain a Retail Food Establishment License?
No. Non-Profits (as defined by the State Department of Revenue or by a 501-C-3 status) do not need to obtain a Retail Food Establishment License. However, they still must submit a vendor application prior to setting up at a Temporary Event.


What do I need to do if I am a Non-Profit and have an event inside/outside my facility?
In this case, the Health Department does not require any information to be submitted, but does recommend that you obtain of Temporary Event Brochure (on this website) and follow along with everything stated in the brochure.


What do I need to do if I am a Non-Profit and have an event at a location other than my facility and other than a scheduled temporary event?
In this case, the Health Department requires you to fill out a vendor application and submit that to the Health Department. Since the event is being held off your physical premises, people buying food product may not realize where that food is coming from. If there were to be any illnesses associated with that event, finding a cause would be greatly simplified if the Health Department knows what food was sold and who was selling it.


Chili cook-offs—what is and is not allowed?
Chili cook-offs come in many different types and sizes. If the food that is being prepared is for the judges only, then no license is required. If the food is being given away in samples and there was not a charge for it (such as $20 at the gate- then all the samples you want), then no license is required. Note: what does a sample mean? It means you are giving the food away in small portions (like in a Dixie cup) and it is not meant as a meal. If the food is being prepared and sold by the bowl, then a license would be required. In any case, the event coordinator should contact the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment with information regarding the event.


If I roast chilies, do I need a license?
Yes. Chili roasting requires that you obtain a Retail Food Establishment License. Please see the Chili Roaster Review Packet on our website.


If I have a temporary event license, can I sell at Farmers' Markets or Corn Mazes?
No. Farmers' Markets and Corn Mazes do not meet the definition of a temporary event. Only a licensed mobile unit may sell at these venues.


What is and isn’t allowed to be sold at Farmers Markets?
If you are selling whole, uncut produce then you do not need a Retail Food Establishment License. If you are going to be selling produce by the slice, or any other potentially hazardous foods (such as prepackaged ice cream, wrapped burritos, cream pies, etc.) then you need to obtain a Retail Food Establishment License. Note: vendors may provide samples of their food product as long as it is done in a clean and sanitary manner, license not required for samples.

Contact Information

Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment: Environmental Health Services
1555 N. 17th Ave
Greeley, CO 80631
Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
(970) 304-6415