Temporary Food Service Facilities Guidelines

Last updated: May 7, 2022

Temporary Food FacilitiesA temporary food service facility is one operating for no more than 30 consecutive days at a fixed location in conjunction with a fair, carnival, public exhibition, construction project, recreational facility or similar gathering.

A temporary event coordinator plans, organizes and implements events involving two or more temporary food service facilities. The temporary event coordinator is responsible for ensuring that public health requirements are met. See Temporary Event Coordinator Requirements.

A temporary food service license application must be completed two weeks prior to the event and submitted to the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, 3 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401. A fee of $114 for high and moderate priority facilities or $35 for low priority facilities must be submitted with the application. (Download the Application)

High and moderate priority temporary food service facilities include those stands which prepare and serve potentially hazardous foods, such as hamburgers, sausages, hot dogs, pizza, fish, chicken, barbecue, crab cakes or shellfish. Download the Priority Assessment for Temporary Food Service Facilities.

Low priority temporary food service facilities include those stands which serve commercially packaged potentially hazardous foods, such as ice cream, milk or yogurt. Other foods in this category are non-potentially hazardous foods that are directly handled, cut, assembled or packaged on the premises.

A license is not required for those food facilities which serve only non-potentially hazardous commercially packaged foods, such as candy, pretzels, chips, nuts, sodas, bottled water or other similar snack foods. No fee is required for a non-profit organization with proof of IRS tax exempt status. The application should provide the name and daytime/cell phone number of a person the Department of Health can contact.

Introductions, Guidelines and Forms:

To apply for a food service license for a temporary event, bring or mail the TEMPORARY Food Service Facility License application to the Anne Arundel County Department of Health located at 3 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401 TWO WEEKS BEFORE you intend to begin operating. There will be a penalty fee assessed for applications received less than two weeks prior to the event. The application requires information such as the location, date(s) and time of the event, what foods will be served, and the address and phone number of a contact person. The fee for the license is:

  • Temporary (High and Moderate Priority)
  • Temporary (Low Priority)
  • Temporary (Non-Profit Organization)

Penalty Fee (for applications received less than two weeks prior to event)

  • High/Moderate Priority
  • Low Priority

If you supply proof of IRS tax exempt status and the food service facility will be operated by a nonprofit organization, there is no fee.

The operator of a temporary food service facility may be contacted prior to the event and the license will be issued on or before the first day of operation.

Approved Food Sources
Food, water and ice must be obtained from an approved source. Well water must be tested before use. Temporary food service facility license holders may not prepare food in a home kitchen and bring it to the event for service to the public. Food not prepared at the event must be prepared in a licensed food service facility and transported to the event at proper holding temperatures.

Food Temperature Requirements
Maintaining proper temperature for potentially hazardous foods is critical. Foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, shell eggs (raw or cooked), milk products, cooked rice and beans, gravy and combination salads such as potato, macaroni, chicken, tuna and other meat salads are potentially hazardous.

  • Provide a metal stem-type thermometer to monitor food temperatures. The thermometer must be scaled at + 2 F to assure proper internal food temperatures. Food temperatures must be taken frequently, at every stage of food preparation, with a cleaned and sanitized metal stem thermometer.
  • Provide thermometers for all refrigerators and freezers.

Required Temperatures for Potentially Hazardous Food
See Critical Control Procedures – English and Spanish.

Cross Contamination Prevention

  • Protect all food, water and ice from contamination during preparation.
  • Provide adequate hand washing facilities, including soap and paper towels. Bring clean water in a dispensing jug with a spigot and provide a container to collect wastewater if a handsink is not available at your location. Hand washing must be performed after eating, drinking, smoking, sneezing, coughing, touching one’s hair or skin, using the restroom, handling soiled equipment or utensils, handling raw products or after any procedure which would soil or contaminate one’s hands.
  • Provide utensils (e.g., tongs, scoops, spatulas or other food dispensing devices) and/or plastic gloves to minimize direct hand contact with food. Do not use bare hands for handling ready-to-eat foods. Reminder: using plastic gloves is not a replacement for hand washing.
  • Persons with boils or infected wounds or communicable diseases (diseases which can be passed from person-to-person) must not prepare or serve food.
  • Provide three separate dishpans or a three-compartment sink for dishwashing purposes. Each container or compartment used for dishwashing must be large enough to submerge equipment at least halfway. Dishwashing procedures include washing, rinsing and sanitizing all washable items. One half teaspoon of household bleach per gallon of water is an effective sanitizer.
  • Store wiping cloths between uses in a container filled with a sanitizing solution (e.g., water containing 1/2 teaspoon of bleach per gallon).
  • Provide storage off the ground for all single service articles (e.g., paper plates, cups, napkins, plastic utensils). Protect single service articles from sources of contamination.
  • Label all toxic items (e.g., detergents, bleach) and store away from food. Insecticides must be properly labeled and stored separately from detergents/sanitizers as well as food.

Eliminate Environmental Problems

  • Toilet facilities should be maintained in a nuisance-free manner, away from food service.
  • Control rodents and insects: use screening and fans; contain trash and debris; and keep the area clean.
  • Control dust and standing water. Dispose of liquid waste in a sanitary manner.
  • Provide artificial lighting in dark enclosed areas or for nighttime operation.

For general food facility information click here or call the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, Food Protection Services Program, at 410-222-7192.

Directrices para las instalaciones temporales de servicio alimentario (eventos especiales) En Español

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