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When You Need a License
- When the temporary food stand is operating off the premises of a licensed food establishment (i.e., the physical facility, its contents, and the contiguous land or property under the control of the license holder) of your licensed food establishment (or for nonprofits*, off the premises of a facility regularly used by the nonprofit); or
- When a vendor serves, sells, or provides unpackaged food or beverages (including alcoholic beverages) to the public. (Examples: Tacos, burgers, lemonade, keg beer, mixed drinks, barbecue, pie by the slice, etc.); or
- When a vendor serves, sells, or provides commercially-prepared prepackaged food or beverages that require temperature control for safety. (Examples: Ice cream bars, bottles/cartons of milk, yogurt containers, etc.); or
- When a vendor serves, sells, or provides cut fruits that require temperature control for safety. (Examples: Cut watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melons.)
Getting a License
A temporary food license must be obtained prior to set up and serving, selling or providing food at an event.
- An event registration costs $50 and enables a civic, business, educational, government, community, or veterans organization (and may include athletic contests), to host, sponsor, or coordinate one temporary event with more than 10 food vendors (except fairs, as defined in Iowa Code Section 174.1, and farmers markets). An event does not include a single store’s grand opening or sale (i.e., a single store cannot host an event).
- An event registration application should be submitted at least 60 days prior to the event.
- A single-event temporary food establishment license costs $50 and includes food establishments operating for a period of 14 consecutive days or fewer at a fair, festival, craft show, vendor show, or other event.
- An annual temporary food establishment license is good for one year and must be obtained for each stand where a vendor will operate a temporary food establishment in conjunction with an event or multiple events.
- Temporary food establishment license applications should be submitted at least 30 days prior to the event.
- Persons who operate simultaneously at more than one event within a county are required to have a separate license for each food stand.
- Food vendors that are operating without proper licensure will be required to stop serving food while a temporary food license application is completed and an inspection is conducted at the food stand.
- A double license fee will be collected for each food stand operating without an appropriate license.
- Mobile food units operating outside the scope and requirements of their license at an event will be required to cease operating. They will have the option to fill out a temporary food license application and pay a double fee for operating without an appropriate license.
Food Allowed in a Licensed Temp Food Estabalishment
- Menu items that are listed on the temporary food establishment license application and approved prior to the event may be served in a temporary food establishment.
- All food must come from a licensed and approved source [Food Code 3-201.11].
- A nonprofit organization’s premise is not considered an approved source unless it is licensed as a food establishment or a food processing plant. If the organization does not have a licensed food establishment, food processing plant, or mobile food unit, all preparation must be done the day of the event within the licensed temporary food stand. Menus must be adjusted to accommodate production needs.
- Ingredients for menu items must be obtained from a licensed and approved source such as a grocery store, a federal or state inspected meat locker, or the food stand owner’s licensed food establishment or mobile food unit, or a food processing plant.
- Menu items may be prepared in the food stand owner’s licensed restaurant, food processing plant, or mobile food unit and appropriately transported to the food stand for service.
- Menu items may be prepared within the licensed temporary food stand the day of the event. No food may be prepared prior to the event unless it is done so in the food stand owner’s licensed food establishment, food processing plant, or mobile food unit and noted on the license application.
- Nonprofit organizations may serve packaged or unpackaged foods that do not require temperature control from any source. (Examples: Baked goods and fruit pies made by organization members.)
- For nonprofits wishing to sell pies that require temperature control for safety, such as cream pies, custard pies, or meat pies - these items must be prepared in or purchased from a licensed and approved source (receipts must be provided). These types of pies may only be cut within the licensed temporary food stand or in a licensed facility.
*Note: Nonprofit organizations do not include municipalities or property of a municipality.Back to top
How to Apply for a Temporary Food Establishment License