So You Want to be Temporary Food Vendor?
If you are planning to be a “Temporary Food Vendor” at a local Festival, Farmers Market, Carnival, or other special event you need to first check with local officials on health and fire department permit requirements. Specific requirements vary from community to community depending on the type of food you plan to sell and the location where food items will be prepared. Temporary Food Vendors may prepare food items on-site, in a mobile-food-kitchen (food truck), in a commercial kitchen, in a food manufacturing facility or in their private home.
At one time, food prepared in a private home was not allowed to be sold to the public. Today, Texas and other states have established “cottage food” rules allowing certain low hazard food items, such as baked goods, jams and jellies, prepared in a private home to be sold to the public. The Texas Cottage Food rules also exempt private homes from licensing and inspection by local health departments. Most jurisdictions will require Cottage Food Vendors to obtain a permit to sell food at special events. If you are planning to sell food products made in your home see the Cottage Food Information Paper below.
Vendors preparing food on-site will need to provide temporary hand washing and utensil washing stations and other food safety and sanitation controls. Food trucks will need to be inspected and approved by a local health authority. Vendors preparing food in a commercial kitchen or at a manufacturing facility will need to be licensed by the health authority having jurisdiction.
Some health departments may require all vendors to have a written Food Safety Notebook with information related to their operation. Food safety training certifications, copies of local permits and written food safety procedures can be maintained be in the notebook for review by health inspectors. Vendors licensed by the state can keep a copy of their Food Manufacturing License, Grant of Inspection or other permit or license issued by TDSHS or another state agency. Vendors licensed by TDSHS should have a copy of their most recent TDSHS Inspection report.
Vendors preparing and selling foods that require time and temperature control for safety will find a Food Safety Notebook to be a valuable tool. The purpose of this Webpage is to provide examples of Food Safety Notebooks and information to help keep the food you prepare for special events safe.