Temporary Event FAQs


What is a special event?

“Special event” means any public gathering which is: temporary; for a specific purpose; and includes the serving of food or a temporary food establishment as part of the event.

What is a temporary food establishment?

A temporary food establishment is any food establishment which operates at a fixed location for a temporary period of time, not to exceed 14 consecutive days, in connection with a fair, carnival, circus, public exhibition, celebration or similar transitory gathering.

I am going to sell food at recurring events such as farmer’s markets, soccer games and concerts. Is there a limit to the amount of days I may operate?

Yes. A temporary food establishment which operates at the same special event, at the same location and serves the same menu is limited to 14 consecutive days.

Are there any food permit exemptions?

Yes, they are:
1. Bottled water and canned soft drinks.
2. Coffee or tea, or both, with powdered nondairy creamer or ultra-pasteurized dairy creamer packaged in individual servings. This subsection does not include beverages such as lattes and espresso that are mixed with a dairy product by the vendor during preparation.
3. 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.
4. Draft beer and other alcoholic beverages that are served without the addition of ice or potentially hazardous food (time/temperature control for safety food).
5. Foods from an approved source prepared for a “cook-off” or judging contest in which food is not provided to the general public.
6. Hermetically sealed and unopened containers of non-potentially hazardous beverages which do not require refrigeration.
7. Hot chocolate prepared without the use of potentially hazardous food (time/temperature control for safety food) or reconstituted dairy products.
8. Nonpotentially hazardous prepackaged baked goods, with proper labeling, from an approved source and requiring no on-site preparation.
9. Nonpotentially 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.
10. Produce sold from a produce stand at which no food preparation, breaching of produce or product sampling is performed.
11. Commercially prepared, prepackaged and unopened individual ice cream containers and ice cream bars that are appropriately labeled as to ingredients and manufacturer.
12. Shelled or unshelled nuts, including flavored nuts for sample or sale, unless the nuts are processed at the event site.
13. 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.

I am an event coordinator and I would like to organize and put on a special event with temporary food establishments, what do I need to do?

The event coordinator must first contact the city or county business licensing department in their city or county, in which the event is going to be held to ensure the necessary permits/licenses are obtained in order to operate within the city/county limits. If the event’s daily attendance is not fewer than 500 persons that operates or may reasonably be expected to operate not less than 20 hours a day for more than 3 days and takes place at a location that lacks permanent facilities specifically intended for the type of assembly involved the promoter must obtain an Application for a Temporary Mass Gathering from the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health - Environmental Health Section.

Do I still need a permit if I’m giving away food?

A permit is required if the food has been prepared in a commercial establishment. Food that is prepared in a private home and given away free of charge or consideration of any kind is exempt from the permitting requirement, unless it is given to a commercial food establishment. If you are not sure, it is best to contact the field office in your area.

I am a food establishment with an annual permit to operate that would like to participate in a special event, what do I do?

Food establishments with annual permits must obtain a Temporary Food Establishment Permit from the Environmental Health Section. Temporary food establishments must operate in accordance with the Nevada Revised Statue and Nevada Administrative Code, Chapter 446 “Temporary Food Establishments.”

I am going to serve food in an existing snack bar at a ballpark/field to sell food for my league games. Do I need a temporary food permit?

Yes. Permits are not transferable. A temporary food establishment permit for you to provide food at the existing snack bar will be required.

If I turn in a food permit application and pay the fee, have I been approved?

No. The application is subject to review and food service operations must comply with regulations. Incomplete applications may be rejected. Applications may also be rejected based on inability to contact the person in charge of food service, menu item restrictions, or operational concerns.

I am going to have a wine tasting event where food is donated and sampled by patrons; do I need a temporary food permit it?

Yes. If tickets to the wine tasting event are open to the public and food will be served, a temporary food establishment permit must be obtained for each separate food vendor.

I have a mobile food unit and would like to participate in a special event. Do I need a temporary food establishment permit?

If a mobile food unit has a valid Operating Permit issued from the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) Environmental Health Section, a temporary food establishment permit is not required if the unit is self-contained as permitted and other food preparation or storage equipment is not required; however the mobile food unit must have the permission of the event promoter to participate in the event. If the mobile food unit does not have a valid DPBH-EHS Operating Permit, a temporary food establishment permit is required. If a mobile food vendor has a permit from another county or state, a temporary food establishment permit is required to operate inside of the DPBH-EHS jurisdiction.

I am a grocery store and I would like to sample food inside my store. Do I need a temporary food permit?

No. If a fixed facility (grocery store, restaurant, etc.) already has a permit through the DPBH-EHS, and the food will be sampled inside the store, a temporary food permit is not required. If the establishment wishes to sample or sell food outside, a temporary food permit is required.

I am a grocery store and I would like to barbeque food outside and sell/serve the food inside. Do I need a temporary food establishment permit?

No. In accordance with the Nevada Administrative Code, Chapter 446 “Barbeque”, a fixed facility with a valid permit does not require a temporary food permit to barbeque food outside provided that food preparation, and service is conducted inside the facility. If food preparation and service is conducted outside the facility, a temporary food establishment permit is required.

Can I sell food made from a private home at a Division of Public and Behavioral Health-Environmental Health Section temporary food establishment special event?

No. Food that is prepared or stored in a private home must not be sold, or offered or displayed for sale, for compensations or contractual consideration of any kind, unless the person preparing the food possesses a valid permit issued by the DPBH-EHS for that purpose. Food prepared in the home must comply with the Cottage Food Regulations (NRS 446.866) to be served at a special event.

Can I sell food made from a private home at my school or church fundraiser?

Yes. A religious, charitable or other nonprofit organization may, without possessing a permit from the DPBH-EHS), sell food to raise money, whether or not the food was prepared at a private home, if the sale occurs on the premises of the organization.

Do I need a temporary food event permit to sell food at a church or school fundraiser?

No. As long as the sale occurs on the premises of the organization and the profits of the sale are used to raise money, a temporary food permit is not required.

I am going to buy bulk muffins and bagels at my local grocery store and sell them individually at an event. Do I need a temporary food permit?

Yes. If food items that are not individually prepackaged and on-site preparation (opening of package and contact with food item) is required, a temporary food establishment permit must be obtained.

Can I prepare food for a temporary food establishment/special event in my home?

Never. No storage, slicing, dicing, marinating, cooking or any process related to food preparation for any food item, dressing, garnish or other is allowed at a private residence for items served to the general public at a special event.

What is a potentially hazardous food?

Permits are required for all potentially hazardous foods (PHF) prepared at the special event. Potentially hazardous food includes an animal food (a food of animal origin) that is raw or heat-treated; a food of plant origin that is heat-treated or consists of raw seed sprouts; cut melons; and garlic-in-oil mixtures that are not modified in a way that prevents bacterial growth. Some examples of potentially hazardous food include, meat, poultry, fish, shell fish and crustaceans, milk and dairy products, cooked rice, and cooked beans, baked potatoes, tofu and soy protein foods, eggs (except those treated to eliminate Salmonella), raw sprouts, and sliced melons. Other food items deemed unsafe for public consumption may be prohibited at the discretion of the health authority. The definition of Potentially Hazardous Food) (Time/temperature control for safety food) can be found in NAC 446.025.

Do I need a temporary food permit to sell popcorn, snow cones, or cotton candy at an event?

Yes. If popcorn, snow cones or cotton candy are not prepackaged (i.e., served with a handled scoop from a machine), then a temporary food permit is required.

Is there a food permit fee exemption for veterans as in California?

No. The state of Nevada has not passed any such exemptions for purchase of permits.

Is there a reduced food permit fee for non-profits?

Yes, with proof of non-profit status for a temporary food establishment that donates all proceeds to the non-profit agency.

Is there an annual permit to cover a full season for temporary foods?

No. The Environmental Health Section permits and inspects every event separately.

If I have a permit for my restaurant do I need a temporary food establishment permit?

Absolutely; a permit is not transferable from person to person or place to place and unless the operation is conducted from an approved mobile food vehicle permitted by DPBH-EHS a separated temporary food permit is required.

How far ahead of time must I purchase a temporary food establishment permit?

Please submit temporary event permits a minimum of 48 hours before the start of the event. Applications that are not submitted a full 24 hours in advance will not be accepted.

Can I prepare the food for a Special Event ahead of time at an approved facility?

Advanced preparation must be approved by DPBH-EHS ahead of time as per application. Menu items, storage, transport, time and temperature will all be considered before such approval is granted. Cooking and cooling food items prior to an event is usually not allowed.Be prepared so show proof of a permit for the facility used for advanced preparation.

Burning Man

For food sharing at Burning Man it is important to know that:

- We do not accept applications or issue permits on the playa.
- We do not require permits for bars servicing ONLY alcoholic beverages.
- You must set-up and use your hand washing station before providing food service. Failure to provide a hand wash station will result in closure.

Who must obtain a permit?

- Any person or camp wishing to serve food to the public will require a permit no matter the number served.
- Any theme camp that is serving meals to 125 persons or more in a camp.

What kind of foods will be approved for food preparation at Burning Man?

The application must include a complete menu for review and approval. There are certain foods or processes that will not be approved for service at Burning Man. Simple food preparation methods are recommended to reduce the risk of illness. Complex food operations that involve potentially hazardous foods that are difficult to maintain in playa conditions, will be prohibited. Prohibited foods include:
- The service of sharing of food from unapproved sources; such as food prepared in a private home,
- Foods prepared under a cottage food registration or home-canned foods,
- Food that has undergone reduced oxygen packaging (i.e., vacuum sealing),
- Raw or undercooked shellfish under any circumstances,
- Raw or undercooked animal products.

How do I apply for a permit?

Complete the application and pay the $50.00 fee on-line.  DPBH-EHS will review it, process it, and send you a letter informing you if your permit has been approved. Your permit will not be sent to you. You must retrieve your permit at Playa Info BEFORE you serve food at Burning Man. The letter is NOT your permit.

Where do I pick up my permit?

Permits must be picked up at Playa Info at Center Camp between Saturday, August 25, 2018 to Wednesday August 29, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. If you cannot arrive during these times please call the office to make other arrangements (775) 687-7533.