Exemptions from Licensing for Temporary Food Facilities

Under the Chester County Food Code, a temporary food facility is "a food facility that operates for a period of no more than 14 calendar days in a fixed location and in conjunction with a single event or celebration (fair, festival, carnival or other transitory gathering). Any person serving food to the public (unless exempted) must have a license to operate and each licensed facility must have a CFM."

Unlike catering, where a known quantity of food is prepared in a licensed facility and taken to an event, food is prepared on-site at a temporary event and the number of customers is unpredictable. A CCHD annual license allows catering; however a separate temporary event license is needed for off-site temporary events.

Food operations limited to the following food items do not need licensing at temporary events:
  • Cotton Candy*
  • Plain/Buttered Popcorn (Kettle corn or similar varieties will not be exempt unless pre-packaged in an approved facility.)
  • Shelled or unshelled roasted nuts
  • Pre-packaged items from a commercial source that are regulated by CCHD or another food regulatory agency, and are packaged at the processor in individual serving portions. These items are:
    • Frozen ice cream
    • Frozen Italian Ice
    • Frozen desert items
    • Loose candy
    • Baked goods
    • Canned or bottled beverages
All food or drink items made at the site of a temporary event that use water or ice have been purposely excluded from this exemption since the source of the water and ice must be reviewed and must be granted approval.

The only items permitted to be made in a home-style kitchen are baked goods prepared in conjunction with a non-profit group event. Proof of tax exemption may be required in advance of the event. All items must be non-potentially hazardous, pre-packaged and labeled to disclose that they were made in a home kitchen.

Sweet and sticky foods are not recommended to be served near petting zoo areas.

(cf. Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 9, No. 5, May 2003, "Vero cytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 gastroenteritis in farm visitor, North Wales".)

For more information on a Temporary Event License, contact the Environmental Health Specialist for your municipality.