Burning Man: Food Guidance Document

This guide is intended to inform permitted food establishments, of the requirements surrounding food services, at Burning Man. To help prepare and serve safe food at the event. This document is not intended to fully inform you of every provision, in the Nevada Administrative Code, Chapter 446, Food Establishment Regulations. Knowing and complying with the full set of regulations is YOUR responsibility.


    Our Environmental Health Specialists will check that good food safety practices are in place, particularly around time, temperature control, cleaning, sanitizing and personal hygiene of food handlers. They will check to ensure that all kitchens are following proper food safety practices when storing, handling and preparing food. They will check that the whole kitchen is following acceptable cleaning and hygiene protocol. The Environmental Health Section will make every attempt to inspect each permitted food establishment.

    • Handwashing station is set up and ready to use with water, soap and paper towels.
    • That volunteers must not touch a read-to-eat food with bare hands.
    • That volunteers are healthy and have not had any vomiting or diarrhea within the last 24 hours.
    • Food is held cold during storage and preparation (Below 41 degrees F)(5 C)
    • Food is cooked to proper temperatures (See Chart Below)
    • Food is held hot during preparation and service (Above 135 degrees F)(57.2C)
    • Dishwashing, if necessary, is set up with three buckets.
      • Bucket #1 Soapy Water
      • Bucket #2 Rinse Water (Center Bucket)
      • Bucket #3 Sanitizing Water
      • Note: This set up may go left to right; or right to left.
    • Soapy water is used to clean food preparation surfaces and sanitizer is used to reduce possible pathogens.
    • Cleaning, sanitizing and handwashing are performed frequently and correctly


    The following list includes food and beverages, that have been determined, to not constitute a potential or actual hazard to the public health. [NAC 446.633]

    • Note: All receipts and bills of sale must be retained and made available upon request.
    • Bottled water and canned soft drinks.
    • Coffee or tea, or both, with powdered non-dairy creamer or ultra-pasteurized dairy creamer packaged in individual servings. This sub-section does not include beverages such as lattes and espresso, that are mixed with a dairy product by the vendor during preparation.
    • Commercially prepared acidic beverages including, without limitation, orange juice, lemonade and other similar beverages, that are served from the original, properly labeled container without the addition of ice or other regulated food products.
    • Draft beer and other alcoholic beverages that are served without the addition of foods that require temperature control.
    • Hermetically sealed and unopened containers of non-potentially hazardous beverages, which do not require refrigeration.
    • Hot chocolate or tea prepared without the use of potentially hazardous food (time/temperature control for safety food) or reconstituted dairy products.
    • Non-potentially hazardous prepackaged baked goods, with proper labeling, from an approved source and requiring no on-site preparation.
    • Non-potentially hazardous and unopened prepackaged food from an approved source with proper labeling, including, without limitation, honey, jerked meats, potato chips, popcorn and other similar foods.
    • Whole uncut produce without product sampling.
    • Commercially prepared, prepackaged and unopened individual ice cream containers and ice cream bars that are appropriately labeled, as to ingredients and manufacturer.
    • Shelled or unshelled nuts, including flavored nuts for sample or sale, unless the nuts are processed at the event site.
    • Food supplements that are offered for sample or sale without the addition of regulated food items. Such food supplements include, but are not limited to, vitamins, minerals, protein powder mixes, energy drinks and herbal mixtures, provided that they are from an approved source.


    • If you are found serving food without a permit, you will be required by Nevada Revised Statute 446 to cease food service.


    • Food from unknown source
    • Raw water or “live” water.
    • Foods made in a private home
    • Home canned foods
    • Wild Mushrooms
    • Unpasteurized milk or juice
    • Raw fresh live shellfish such as oysters, clams, mussels or scallops
    • Raw or undercooked meat, game animals or fin fish from non-commercial sources. All meats and poultry must be USDA inspected.
    • Raw or undercooked eggs


    The handwashing station must be in the food preparation area and be set up before food preparation begins.

    • Handwashing station - Food preparation area
    • Locate the stand away from possible contamination sources (showers and porta-potties).
    • Provide a canopy or other form of overhead protection. Secure items from wind damage
    • Construct the stand or locate it so that it is protected during bad weather. Try to protect the food from weather, dust, and debris with covers or immediate service.
    • Protect food preparation and cooking areas from the public by a shield or separation by distance.

    Under Canopy Diagram

    The diagram below is, a suggestion of how a food preparation area should be arranged. It is important to place the hand wash station, in the location, where food is being prepared.

    • Under Canopy Diagram
    • Personal food areas should not be mixed with food for the public
    • Do not eat in a food preparation area
    • Beverage consumption is only allowed from a container that minimizes hand-to-mouth contact.
    • A person-in-charge must oversee buffets
    • Open food must not be left unattended


    All foods must be protected from flies, dust, sneezing, unnecessary handling, or other contamination during transportation, storage, handling, display and service. All preparation and service must be done under a tent or similar approved structure with overhead protection.

      Store foods, in food grade containers and keep them covered. All equipment must be clean and in good repair. If coolers are used, they must be a non-porous type (not styrofoam). Food should not be placed directly in contact with ice. Ice should be well drained and not used for any other purpose. Ice for drinks must be stored in separate clean containers. Remember: Ice is considered food. All ice must be from an approved source; do not bring ice from home.

        Store all foods, off the ground, on shelves or stacked on empty crates. Pallets are good for keeping food off the ground. Sugar, mustard, ketchup and other condiments must be individually packaged or dispensed in a manner that prevents contamination, such as squeeze bottles.

          Waste cooking oil and grease must be disposed of in an approved manner. This type of grease cannot be dumped with the other trash. A grease container must be provided and arrangements made with a grease hauler for removal. Waste water shall not be reused for any purpose.


            The easiest and safest method of preparing food, for sale at a temporary facility, is cooking to order. Example: pre-formed frozen hamburger patties that are cooked on a grill and served immediately. Keep in mind that the more steps involved between raw product and final service, the greater the potential for foodborne illness to occur.

              On site preparation should be minimal. Same day preparation is safest. However, off site preparation could take place the day before in a licensed facility that is equipped to handle the large volumes of food involved. Example: Shish Kabob could be assembled on skewers, transported to the event, ensuring continuous cooling and cooked to order.

                All potentially hazardous foods must be delivered under refrigeration to the site as close to the day of the event as possible. If food is prepared off site, the establishment must be in compliance with local, state and federal codes.Copies of a recent inspection report and a valid health department license may be requested.


                  Only equipment capable of maintaining foods at safe temperatures shall be used. Adequate refrigeration such as refrigerated trucks, refrigerators and coolers with ice or ice packs must be provided for keeping food cold. For example, a refrigerated truck would be used for bulk storage, small refrigerators or coolers used for short-term service near the grills. Obviously, an ample supply of ice and ice packs must be provided. If electrically powered coolers are used, care must be taken to be sure that the service lines can handle the voltage.

                  All units must be provided with accurate thermometers placed in the warmest part of the unit to monitor ambient air temperature.


                  All potentially hazardous foods must be transported under refrigeration regardless of the distance to be traveled.


                    SANITIZER AND WIPING CLOTHS. An approved sanitizer should be provided (chlorine or quaternary ammonium). Wiping cloths should be stored in the sanitizer when not in use.

                    • Pre-clean area with soap and water to remove a majority of the food and dust before sanitizing.
                    • Use 2-3 teaspoons of bleach for 2 gallons water. (DO NOT ADD SOAP)
                    • Change the sanitizing water every 2 hours.
                    • A spray bottle may be used for sanitizing surfaces, if overspray does not contaminate food products.
                    • NOTE: Vinegar is not an approved sanitizer. Pop up wipes from containers do not contain enough sanitizer to meet the criteria above.

                    WATER AND WASTEWATER

                    • Water must be safe for drinking.
                    • Water must be obtained from approved sources such as grocery stores or community water systems.
                    • Water tanks must be easy to clean, big enough to meet the needs of the food stand, and constructed of an approved, non-toxic material.
                    • Tanks must be clean and sanitized before fill.
                    • Bring all water and ice you require with you. Have a back up plan for running out.
                    • Bring a container to store wastewater. Dumping wastewater or potable water onto the ground is prohibited.


                    • Set-up and use a 3 basin sink station and dish drying rack for ware washing.
                      • #1 Basin: Wash dishes with soap and warm water.
                      • #2 Basin: Rinse dishes in clean water.
                      • #3 Basin: Sanitize the dishes. Do not rinse the dishes after sanitizing
                    • Sanitizer Strength - Test Strips are required to check for sanitizer concentration
                      • Use 50 parts per million (ppm) of a chlorine-based sanitizer concentration, or
                      • 200-300 ppm of a quaternary ammonia sanitizer.
                    • Submerge dishes in sanitizer for 1 minute. For very large items, rotate them in the sink for one minute on each side to completely sanitize.
                    • Air dry and cover or store to protect them from dust and dirt.
                    • In use utensils/work surfaces must be washed, rinsed & sanitized EVERY 4 hours.


                    Chlorine, also known as bleach, is one of the most commonly chosen sanitization methods. It is widely available and safe under normal use. Chlorine loses its sanitizing power quickly as it is exposed to oil and organic materials, which can make it less effective if the sanitizing sink becomes dirty. Because of this, the chlorine mixture must be changed out more often than those made with other chemical sanitizers. The bleach solution should have a concentration of 50 to 100 parts per million (ppm) in water between 75 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with a required contact time of at least 1 minute. Chlorine test strips, usually white before use, are available to help you ensure the correct solution is used. The paper is dipped in the water, then turns a shade of blue that can be compared to a scale provided with the test strips, with most scales ranging from 10 to 200 ppm. DO NOT BUY POOL TEST STRIPS.

                      QUATERNARY AMMONIUM

                      Quaternary ammonium sanitizes dishes by using its positively charged cations to bond with the negatively charged particles of undesirable microbes. These sanitizing solutions are often called quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) or quats.  Quat does not work as well in hard water. Additionally, quat is nonirritating to skin and, since it has detergent-like properties, it can handle more soil than chlorine before it needs to be changed. However, quats often do not function well in cold water, making testing an important part of any quaternary ammonium sanitation regimen. Quat test paper measures the concentration of the quaternary sanitizer in the water, using a color scale ranging from 0 to 500 ppm. This test paper is available in pre-cut strips and in tear-off rolls, usually a light orange color. Most quaternary ammonium sanitizers require dilutions of 200 to 500 ppm in water that is at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with the dishes submerged for at least 1 minute.

                        TEST STRIPS

                        One of the most common ways of sanitizing dishes is by using, one of several, chemicals that have been proven to remove microbes such as bacteria. The two most commonly used chemicals for sanitizing in a food establishments are, chlorine and quaternary ammonium. Each one must be used in a specific concentration and using too little or too much of the chemical, in your sanitizing water can be dangerous. Test strips must match the solution. Bleach uses a white test strip. Quaternary Ammonium uses an orange test strip.


                          Wash your hands frequently. Wash after breaks, when changing gloves, immediately after coughing or sneezing and after smoking. Will need to wash after changing food service tasks; such as going from chopping vegetables to handling meat or going from dishwashing/cleaning to food handling.

                          • Hand sanitizers may be used after hand washing but DO NOT replace proper handwashing.
                          • Set-up your hand washing station prior to any other kitchen activity.
                          • The hand sink must have a free-flow spigot/spout and be equipped with liquid pump soap, clean water; paper towels, wastewater catch bucket and a trash can for used paper towels.
                          • Hand sinks may not be used for any other purpose.
                          • Dishwashing must be done in separate basin.
                          • No cloth towels may be used to dry hands. Use single-service paper towels.

                          HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS

                          People frequently touch their eyes, mouth and nose without realizing it. Germs can travel from the hand and get into the body, which can make us sick. Feces from people and pets spread germs like Salmonella, E. coli and norovirus, which causes diarrhea and it can cause respiratory infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper hand washing can reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31-percent.

                          • Turn on tap
                          • Use a pump soap dispenser
                          • SCRUB HANDS - FOR 20 SECONDS -
                          • Rinse Hands
                          • Turn off tap with paper towel
                          • Dry hands completely
                          • TIP: Sanitize faucet handles frequently

                          DO NOT TOUCH THE FOOD

                          • Do not touch ready-to-eat foods with bare hands.
                          • Wear gloves OR use tongs, spoons, spatulas, and other utensils when portioning or preparing food.
                          • Examples of ready-to-eat foods; include all cooked foods, breads, raw fruits or any food that will not be cooked before being eaten.

                          HEALTHY VOLUNTEERS

                          WARNING FOOD SERVICE BURNERS: If unsafe food handling practices cause a food borne illness outbreak, you may be liable for damages incurred from the resulting illness(s).

                          • Ask if food handlers are feeling well or have been ill with any illness
                          • Instruct volunteers to wash their hands before they handle any food or help out in the kitchen and ensure that they wash hands regularly, as they work
                          • Be sure that food handlers wear disposable gloves our use a utensil when handling ready-to-eat foods
                          • Wash hands each time gloves are changed
                          • Remind food service volunteers that they may not eat, smoke or care for small children while they are working in the camp kitchen
                          • Camp volunteers who have been ill with vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice or headache with fever must not work in food service for at least 24 hours after their symptoms end
                          • Ensure ill food handlers are excluded from food handling, preparation or service.
                          • Ensure that open cuts, burns, open sores are properly bandaged and covered.
                          • Ensure your employees are properly clothed and clean.

                          FOOD SOURCES

                          • All food, beverages and ice must be obtained from approved sources.
                          • Off-site preparation or storage must be done at a licensed food establishment and approved in advance. Submit health permit with application
                          • Read Nevada Administrative Code, Chapter 446 regulating public food service and specifically the section regarding temporary food establishments

                          PREVENTION OF FOOD CONTAMINATION

                          • Minimize the amount of food preparation in your camp by using pre­formed hamburger patties and pre-cut and pre-washed vegetables
                          • Store foods, drinks and ice in covered containers to protect them from dust and contamination.
                          • Keep food preparation surfaces clean
                          • Store all foods, beverages, serving containers, equipment and ice off the ground by a minimum of 6 inches
                          • Store and keep raw animal foods separate from ready-to-eat foods
                          • Store different species of raw animal products separately
                          • Wash fruits and produce
                          • If possible store different types of meat or poultry in different coolers.
                          • If stored in the same cooler, use separate, sealed containers and store food in the following order
                            • Eggs (145 degrees F)(63 C)[on top]
                            • Fish (145 degrees F)(63 C)
                            • Pork (145 degrees F)(63 C)
                            • Whole-muscle intact meats (145 degrees F)(63 C)
                            • Ground Beef (155 degrees F)
                            • Chicken (165 degrees F)(69 C)[on bottom]