Temporary Food Facilities / Food Booths (TFF)

General Temporary Food Facility Information

Event organizers that are responsible for facilities that are shared by two or more food facilities operating at a public event or recurring events (such as farmers markets or swap meets) are required to submit an Event Organizer permit application 14 days prior to the event start date. Applications received less than 14 days prior to the event, may be subject to additional fees to expedite the review process.

A health permit is required for food booth vendors (i.e. temporary food facilities) operating at public events. Food booth permit applications received less than 7 days prior to the event start date may be subject to additional fees to expedite the review process. Food booth vendors that are found operating without the required health permit may be subject to closure of their food booth and subject to a penalty fee at three times the cost of the health permit.

If you have any questions, please contact the Special Events Program at (714) 433- 6080 or e-mail us at ehSpecialEvents@ochca.com. For additional information on our fee schedule, please refer to http://ochealthinfo.com/eh/home/fees.

Whether you are selling food at a carnival, a “Taste Of” event, a cultural festival, or as part of a PTA fund raiser, you will be doing the same thing, serving food to the public from a booth. There are requirements in place that must be followed in order to ensure that food is served from a food booth safely to prevent food borne illness. The purpose of this web page is to guide you through the process of obtaining the proper health permit, as well as helping you meet the various structural and operational requirements of operating a food booth.

It is advisable that you reserve a spot at each community event prior to applying for a permit.


First we’ll provide you with the definitions to a few of the terms used when discussing food booths and their requirements.

Temporary Food Facility – A food facility approved by the enforcement officer that operates at a fixed location for the duration of an approved community event or at a swap meet. From now on, a temporary food facility will be referred to as a TFF. TFF’s are also known as food booths. Vehicles can also be TFF's under certain circumstances.

Community Event – An event that is of civic, political, public, or educational nature, including state and county fairs, city festivals, circuses, and other public gathering events approved by the local enforcement agency. The city hosting the event may need to approve of it and issue a special event permit. Not all events are community events, and Environmental Health will make the final determination regarding what is and what isn't a community event. A TFF must be part of a community event and may not operate independently of a community event.

Event Coordinator – The person or organization responsible for organizing the event and for providing auxiliary facilities (i.e., 3-compartment sink, restrooms, garbage bins, etc.) that are shared by two or more TFFs.

Prepackaged Food – This describes any food that is given away or sold while it is still in its original packaging from the manufacturer. Examples include cans of soda, wrapped candy, and packaged snacks like potato chips. Whole and uncut produce is also considered prepackaged food. If beer or wine is being dispensed from a closed dispensing system (example: from a keg) then that is classified as prepackaged food as well. Any condiments must be prepackaged as well. No preparation, sampling, or portioning may go on at the event.

Open Food – Any other food service other than what is described under the definition of prepackaged food is considered open food. Food that requires any kind of cooking, preparation, portioning, sampling, etc., is considered to be open food.

Potentially Hazardous Food – A food that requires time or temperature control to limit the growth of illness causing bacteria. From now on they will be referred to as PHF. Examples of PHF include but are not limited to: raw and cooked meats, dairy products, soy products, cooked vegetables, cooked potatoes, cooked pasta, cooked beans, cooked rice, bean sprouts, cut tomatoes, and cut melons.

How do I Obtain a Permit?

Before you can sell or even give away food to the public, you are required to have a valid health permit. In order to process your permit in a timely manner for the event, please submit all applications at least 2 weeks prior to the event. There are several different kinds of permits available depending on what you plan to do at your TFF, each one with different requirements. Come to our office located at 1241 E. Dyer Road, Suite 120, Santa Ana, CA 92705 to apply for a permit. To save time and make the application process as smooth as possible, be sure to download one of the information bulletins below and complete the Operation Specification and Health Permit Application forms. Remember, health permits are only good for a single event and are not transferable to other events or other vendors.

  • Event Coordinator – For every community event, one person or organization, is responsible for the event and for providing facilities such as restrooms, garbage containers, potable water, hand washing facilities, and waste water disposal facilities. An event coordinator is required for any community event consisting of two or more food facilities. The event coordinator is responsible for providing a site plan that shows the locations of TFFs and auxiliary facilities within the community event and for ensuring that all vendors planning on participating in the event obtain a valid permit.
  • Category I A (prepackaged food) – This permit is required for anyone proposing to sell or give away prepackaged food and/or produce. Only prepackaged sampling is permitted.

  • Nonprofit Charitable Organization – If a nonprofit charitable organization (proof of nonprofit status is required) wishes to sell or give away food at a TFF, they may submit an Application for Nonprofit Organization. Examples of nonprofit TFFs include churches, schools, and city organizations. Contact our Special Events Program for an application.
  • Single Event – A non-recurring community event.
  • Recurring Event – Swap meets and Certified Farmers Markets

Onsite Inspection/Self Inspection Checklist

Event Coordinator


The Health Services Fees for this fiscal year of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 are:

Type of Permit Single Event Recurring Event

Event Coordinator



Category I A & B (prepackaged food)



Category II (open food)




Is there someplace that I can download these requirements as a PDF document?

Contact Information

Contact the Special Event Program for any Temporary Food Facility or Food Event related questions at ehspecialevents@ochca.com. You can also call 714-433-6080 to speak to one our Temporary Event Specialists between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday.