Temporary Food Establishment Permits

A Temporary Food Establishment Permit is required for food service at temporary events or celebrations that are open to the public. These permits are required whether or not payment is received for the food served. 

To apply for a Temporary Food Establishment permit for food service, the event must align with the following definitions:

  • Temporary Food Events (TFE) are defined as a single event or celebration that is advertised to the public in affiliation with a specific day or purpose for no more than 21 consecutive days. TFEs operate at a fixed location with a fixed menu and cooling is not allowed on site of the event. Examples of a TFE include Cinco de Mayo, National Hot Dog Day, live music performance, sporting event, fair, or retail event.
  • Seasonal Food Events (SFE) operate at a fixed location, with a fixed menu for the duration of a fixed schedule of a reoccurring event that operates less than six months of the calendar year. Risk levels follow the same categorization of brick and mortar facilities.
Completed applications may be submitted in person or by mail at Yakima Health District, 1210 Ahtanum Ridge Dr., Union Gap, WA 98903.

Who Needs to Get a Temporary Food Event Permit?

Individuals or groups planning to hold events that are open to the public must obtain a permit. The Yakima Health District requires that a temporary food permit be purchased for each food booth operating during an event (no “blanket” permits). If you advertise your event with flyers, banners, newspaper articles, or by other means, it is considered a public event. Church dinners or other club events that are for members and their guests only and are not advertised are not considered to be public events. Private weddings or other private parties that do their own food preparation do not require a permit. If you hire a caterer, he/she must have a license to prepare the food in a licensed kitchen. Ask to see their caterer’s license.

Some Events Requiring Permits

These events are only examples. If you are unsure if you need a permit, call the Environmental Health Help Desk at 509-249-6508.
  • Church bazaars
  • Community celebrations
  • Fair, carnival, or circus
  • Festivals
  • Fundraisers
  • Holiday craft fairs
  • Public exhibitions
  • Sports events

When Should the Application Be Turned In?

We recommend the application be returned with the fee a 2 weeks before the event. This allows time for the Health District staff to review the application and arrange any changes necessary well in advance of the event. You are urged to apply for a permit as early as possible. No permits will be issued on site and booths without permits will be required to close.

Applicants must submit completed applications and payment at least 7 days prior to the event date. Applications and payment submitted within 7 days of the event are subject to approval based on staff availability and incur a $50 late fee. Applications and payment are not accepted within 48 hours of the event.

Providing Samples at Your Booth

Preparation must be done behind the service counter and must be kept at a minimum such as slicing or cutting for samples. All food samples must be protected from contamination from people and the environment by use of sneeze guards. Plastic wrap, dome lids, or portable fixtures may be used as sneeze guards. All samples must be dispensed individually in disposable containers or use disposable utensils. For example, honey can be dispensed from a squeeze bottle directly to a disposable spoon and handed to the customer. Use of open “community” containers not supplied with sneeze guard protection or utensils for service is not sanitary and is not allowed.

Read the Washington Administrative Code regarding temporary food service, WAC 246-215-190.

Exempt Food Items

There are a few foods that can be sold in Yakima County without a Yakima Health District permit. These foods are exempt because they are not sources for bacterial growth and generally are not involved in the spread of food borne illness. It is still important that all people involved in the production and sale of these foods maintain good personal hygiene (washing hands, using clean equipment) to ensure a safe food product. Refer to the list provided below and verify with an EH Specialist that your service qualifies for exemption by contacting the EH Help Desk and submitting an application for exemption approval.
Exempt from Permit Application