Types of Food Permits

When Do I need a Food Permit

If you are storing, preparing, packaging, serving, vending or otherwise providing food for human consumption then you may need a food permit:

  • If it is a private event, then you do not need a permit.
  • If it is a public event, then you may need a permit, however there are some exemptions.

Food Exempt from a Food Permit

The following are exempt from a food permit:

  • Pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods (i.e. packaged cookies, chips, crackers, bread, etc.) from an approved source
  • Non-potentially hazardous, nonready-to-eat, minimally cut, unprocessed fruit and vegetables from an approved source
  • Non-potentially hazardous, ready-to-eat food, from an approved source, served into smaller portions without direct hand contact (i.e. premixed soda, powered creamer, pretzels, cookies, doughnuts, cake or jerky, etc.)
  • Non-potentially hazardous hot drinks served in single service cups (i.e. hot chocolate, coffee, hot tea, etc.)
  • Dry, non-potentially hazardous, nonready-to-eat foods (i.e. dry beans, grains, in-shell nuts, coffee beans, tea leaves, etc.)
  • Prepackaged frozen confections form an approved source

The following items are also exempt from a temporary food permit: Note: If you are serving and preparing these items at your event, please complete a Food Exemption Application.

  • Popcorn
  • Cotton candy
  • Dried herbs and spices (processed in an approved facility)
  • Machine crushed ice (if made with non-potentially hazardous ingredients and ice from approved source. Does not include snow cones/shaved ice/Hawaiian Ice.)
  • Corn on the cob
  • Whole roasted peppers (if roasted for immediate service)
  • Roasted nuts (including candy-coated)
  • Chocolate-dipped ice cream bars (if made with commercially packaged ice cream bars)
  • Chocolate-dipped bananas (if made with bananas peeled and frozen in an approved facility)
  • Sliced fruits and vegetables for sampling (if used for individual samples of non-potentially hazardous produce)

Bake Sales:
A bake sale is defined as a "nonprofit organization operating for religious, charitable, or educational purposes and selling baked goods that do not need temperature control (non-potentially hazardous foods)." The items must be prepared and individually wrapped in a sanitary manner. A clearly visible sign at the point of sale must read, "These foods were prepared at a kitchen that is not inspected by the Health Department." Some examples of foods allowed at bake sales are: cookies, brownies, muffins, doughnuts, fudge, fruit pies, cake, bread, scones, or candy. Some examples of foods not allowed at bake sales are: cream filled desserts, lemon meringue pie, home canned foods, whipped cream, cream cheese, pumpkin pie, cheesecakes, and custard desserts.

A potluck is defined as an event where: (a) people are gathered to share food; (b) people attending are expected to bring food to share; (c) there is no compensation provided to people for bringing food to the event; (d) there is no charge for any food or beverage provided at the event; and (e) the event is not conducted for commercial purposes."

Churches/Religious/Donated Food Distribution Organizations:
1. Provides food to their congregation: You do not need a food permit. We consider a congregation a private group. 2. Provides food to homeless individuals: You do not need a food permit, because you are considered a Donated Food Distributing Organization. Note: However, we would like to know that this is occurring. Please contact the Food Program (contact information below) about distributing donated food.

If you are unsure if you need a food permit, contact the Food Program at (360)427-9670 ext. 361.