Requirements to Run a Temporary Food Establishment

If you or your organization plan to serve food to the public, some important requirements must be met. We recommend reading the following documents:

Proper Temporary Food Establishment Information

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
International Association for Food Protection Food Thermometer


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 & 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. Use a commercial dishwasher, a 3-compartment sink, or set up three tubs to WASH items in warm soapy water, RINSE in clear water, and SANITIZE in water containing 50-100ppm chlorine (approximately one capful of bleach per gallon of water), or 200ppm quaternary ammonia. Use test strips to make sure the sanitizer is the right amount!

Important Tools & 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