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Temporary Food Establishments

A temporary food stand serves food to the public at one location for no more than 14 consecutive days.

Temporary Event Food licenses are issued for an event or celebration, such as a fair, carnival, circus, sporting event, or occasional sales promotion. Licenses are issued to individuals or groups that operate a temporary food stand.

Event Licensing 

  • Temporary Event Food License Applications are processed by the License Division of the City Clerk's office. Click for applications
  • Restaurants at the event location that want to participate in the event can apply for a Temporary Change of Plan Permit (previously Temporary Extension of Premises)
  • All Temporary Event Licenses should be applied for at least two weeks prior to the first event to guarantee that a license will be approved. If it falls within the two week window there is no guarantee that a license will be issued. 

Food Stand Construction 

  • Every Temporary stand must have  a roof and sidewalls. It can be built of wood, canvas, nylon, or plastic.
  • Have enough room for all cooking equipment except for barbecue grills. Those may be outside the stand as long as they are blocked off.
  • Areas used for extensive food preparation must be effectively enclosed or screened.
  • The food preparation area may have a food pass-through opening or entry door. 
  • For booths not on concrete; sealed wood racks, plywood, or shredded bark should be used to control mud, dust, and water.
  • Use pallets, crates, racks, or tables to keep all food and single-service items at least six inches off the ground.

Food Layout

  • Cooking equipment- grill areas must be separated from the public for a distrance of at least 4 feet by using fences, ropes, or other means.
  • Do not use barrels that formerly held chemicals or toxics as cooking devices. Enamelware equipment and utensils (i.e., older metal nesco cooker inserts) may not be used to prepare or store food.
  • Provide a secure and level area for all propane tanks.
  • Electrical power- sufficient power must be available for all electrical equipment.
  • Water- have a sufficient supply of approved drinking (potable) water. Connections to city water must be made using approved backflow prevention.
    • All hoses used for food preparation, handwashing, or utensil washing must be food grade (ANSI/NSF). If city water is not available, potable water may be brought to the site in a water buffalo or covered food grade water container.
  • Sanitary services- arrange for adequate trash, grease, and wastewater containers and service in and around the food stand.
  • Do not empty grease and liquid wastes on the ground or street. Never dump grease or wastewater in to the storm sewers or on the grass at an event.

Dishwashing

  • Warewashing- equipment and utensils can be taken to an approved facility at the end of each day for warewashing. Adequate utensils must be provided and replaced with clean utensils at least every four hours. When water under pressure is not available on site, basins large enough to immerse utensils may be set-up for warewashing.
  • Hot water- If hot water under pressure is not available, provide a means of heating water such as a coffee maker or heated in a container on the grill.
  • Proper storage of cleaning aids- All chemicals must be used according to label directions and properly labeled. Store them away from food, equipment, utensils, and single service articles. 
  • Wiping cloths- Wiping cloths that are in use for wiping food spills shall be used for no other purpose and shall be stored clean and dry or in a container of clean sanitizing solution at the proper concentration. 

Handwashing

  • Hand wash facilities must be located in all stands where open food is handled or prepared and convenient to all employees. Grill areas that are separate should have a separate handwash facility.
  • When water under pressure is not available, the hand wash facility shall consist of soap, paper towels, wastepaper basket, discard bucket, and a minimum 5-gallon insulated container with a free flowing spigot that is filled with warm water. 
  • Employees may not touch ready-to-eat foods such as: bread, lettuce, tomatoes, or cooked foods with their bare hands. 
  • Use gloves, tissues, tongs, or other utensils
  • Gloves and hand sanitizers are not a substitute for handwashing and may only be applied to hands that have been thoroughly washed. 
  • Employees must wear clean clothes and hair restraints. Smoking and eating are not allowed in food stands. Small children, friends, and visitors must not be allowed in to food stands. 

Safe Food Temperatures

COOK

  • Poultry, poultry stuffing, stuffed meat and stuffing containing meat to 165°F for 15 seconds
  • Ground beef/hamburger to 155°F for 15 seconds
  • Uncooked brats or polish sausage to 155°F for 15 seconds
  • Whole pork, beef roasts, and ham to 145°F for 4 minutes
  • Pork chops/ribs to 145°F for 15 seconds
  • Fish to 145°F for 15 seconds
  • Raw shell eggs prepared for immediate service to 145°F for 15 seconds
  • Fruits and vegetables cooked for hot holding to 135°F

HOLD

  • At 135°F or above for safe hot holding
  • At 135 or above for safe hot holding
  • At 41°F or below for safe cold holding
  • Use date marking for potentially hazardous, ready-to-eat
  • foods prepared or opened On-site and held for more than 24 hours

COOL

  • potentially hazardous cooked foods:
  • Within 2 hours, from 135°F to 70°F
  • Within 4 hours, from 70°F to 41°F or below
To speed cooling:
  •  Use ice bath with frequent stirring or add ice as an ingredient
  • Use frozen paddle
  • Separate food into shallow pans and refrigerate

REHEAT- rapidly (within 2 hours):

  • To 165°F for 15 seconds
  • To 135°F for ready-to-eat foods taken from a commercially processed sealed package (e.g. frozen soup)
  • Stir food while reheating
  • Use proper cooking unit, not a steam table

THAW

  • In refrigerator at 41°F or below
  • Submerged under cold running water at 70°F or below
  • In microwave oven on defrost or low when an uninterrupted cooking process immediately follows, using conventional cooking equipment. (Note: can be cooked to165°F in microwave and held covered for 2 minutes.)
  • In conventional oven or cooking unit to the proper internal temperature, as part of the regular cooking process, until food reaches proper temperature throughout.

Important Requirements for Operating a Food Service at a Temporary Event 

  • All Food operations need a hand wash station set up before any food processing can be done onsite. 
  • Food operations considered high risk will not be allowed to operate until inspected and the license issued.
  • To prevent short-term closure of a food service, operators should make sure that safe food handling practices and temperatures are implemented and followed.
  • Food vendors should download our Guidelines for Temporary Food Stands 
  • Event Coordinators can download  Information for Temporary Food Coordinators

Questions regarding festival food service should be directed to Health Department Consumer Environmental Health Staff at 414-286-3674, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Consumer Environmental Health

Zeidler Municipal Building
841 N. Broadway, Room 320
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Phone: 414-286-3674
Fax: 414-286-5164
cehcadmin@milwaukee.gov

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-4:30 pm

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