Kalamaoo County

Environmental Health


A temporary food business is an establishment operating at a fixed location for not more than fourteen (14) consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration. Examples include:

  • a food booth at a fair, football game, etc.
  • a restaurant preparing food offsite
  • a private organization serving food to the public
  • a rental hall
  • a catering kitchen

If you are wondering whether or not a temporary food license is required for your event, please call 269-373-5210

To apply for a temporary food establishment you must submit a Temporary Food Service License application and pay any associated fees at least four (4) working days in advance of the proposed first day of operation. The following information is needed for completing the application:

  • Business establishment name
  • Owner's name and address
  • Owner's phone number
  • Location (address) of event
  • Dates of operation (permit will be valid for no more than 14 consecutive days)
  • List of foods and beverages to be offered to the public
  • List of foods and beverages prepared offsite in a licensed facility (not prepared at the temporary food establishment) and the name and address of the licensed facility
  • Time equipment will be set up and ready for inspection
  • Time food and beverages will start being served
  • Signature of applicant

Instructions for completing the Temporary Food Establishment License application
Contact our office at (269) 373-5210 if you have specific questions about your operation.

Temporary Food Event Planning Checklist

Food Source:
All food must come approved sources and/or must be prepared on site in an approved facility. Home canned and home-prepared foods are not permitted!

Person in Charge:
A Person in Charge must be present during all hours of operation. This person must be aware of food safety practices that apply to the temporary food service facility, and he/she must ensure that safe food practices are taking place at the temporary food facility.

All employees must be free from open sores and skin infections, and maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness. Employees may not smoke, eat, or use any form of tobacco while on duty or near food or food service equipment. Food may only be touched with bare hands if it will be cooked after it is touched. Food employees must wear hair restraints to effectively keep hair from contacting food, equipment, utensils, single service items, etc.

No Sick Employees:
Employees who are sick are very likely to spread disease while handling food. Therefore, employees who have diarrhea, vomiting, or who are sneezing or coughing are not permitted to work.

Ready-To-Eat Food:
Employees may not touch ready-to-eat food (food that will not be cooked any further) with their bare hands. Instead, food must be handled with gloved hands, tongs, deli tissue, etc. If employees are wearing single-use gloves, remember to change them often and wash hands in between glove changes!

Raw animal foods must be kept separate from ready-to-eat foods during storage, preparation, holding, and display. After being used for raw animals foods, utensils and equipment must be cleaned and sanitized before being used for ready-to-eat foods.

Proper Holding Temperatures:

  • Cold food must be held at 41°F or below.
  • Hot food must be held at 135°F or above.

Proper Cooking Temperatures:

  • Poultry: 165°F
  • Stuffed Products: 165°F
  • Hamburger: 155°F
  • Sausage: 155°F
  • Pork: 145°F
  • Beef: 145°F
  • Fish: 145°F
  • Hot Dogs: 135°F

A metal stem thermometer must be provided to check internal temperatures of potentially hazardous hot and cold food. The thermometer must have a range of 0-220°F, and be accurate to within +/- 2°F. In addition, each cold holding unit must have a working thermometer inside it.

Equipment and Utensils:
Bacteria can live and grow on forks, knives, spatulas, spoons, and other utensils that touch food. To minimize the growth of bacteria and prevent contamination of food, utensils must be washed, rinsed, and sanitized at least every 4 hours.

Important Tools and Equipment:

  • Thermometer
  • Proper refrigeration and/or hot holding units
  • Disposable gloves
  • Fresh water, soap, and paper towels
  • Chlorine or other approved sanitizer
  • Bucket for sanitizer
  • Sanitizer test strips
  • Extra utensils
  • Clean wiping cloths

In addition, the following documents produced by Washtenaw County Department of Public health may be useful for educating your employees about safe food practices for temporary food service events. Please feel free to download, print, and make copies to give to your employees or hang in your temporary food establishment:

Hand washing is a vital tool in preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses that can cause infections and foodborne illness. People can be a significant source of harmful microorganisms. Proper hand washing by food employees is necessary to control direct and indirect contamination of food, utensils, and equipment. Below is an example of a proper hand wash station for a temporary food event.

The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department programs are open to all without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, height, weight, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

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