Special Events and Temporary Food Establishments
The Special Events Program covers all aspects of Environmental Health at mass gatherings, including temporary foods, solid waste and liquid waste.
Washoe County is home to several large events annually that exceed 200,000 attendees, such as Hot August Nights, Best-In-The-West Rib Cook-off, and the Reno Air Races. There are between 2,000 and 2,500 temporary food permits issued during the calendar year, with an estimated 1,000,000 patrons served. The Special Events Team conducts approximately 2,500 inspections to ensure safe food handling practice and compliance with regulations in Temporary Food Establishments.
The Special Events Program also works closely with event promoters throughout the event planning process to ensure that food vendor operations are accommodated and that all garbage and wastewater is disposed of in a sanitary manner.
- Annual Sample Permits and Farm Products Requirements
- Special Events Promoter Requirements
- Temporary Food Establishment Requirements
Health Requirements for Special Event Temporary Food Establishments
A health permit shall be obtained from the Washoe County Health District a minimum of seven (7) days in advance. Applications and fees not received seven days prior to the event will result in a late fee that is equal to the permit fee up to $100.00. Food vendors will not be allowed to operate without a valid Washoe County Health District Temporary Food Permit. We do not accept out-of-state personal checks.
- FOOD SOURCE
All foods shall be from an approved source. All food vendors shall be prepared to provide documentation of food source upon request. Interstate transport of foods that have been heated, reheated, or processed in any way outside of an approved USDA or FDA manufacturing facility is strictly prohibited. All processed or precooked foods from approved USDA or FDA facilities transported across state lines shall arrive at the event or an approved permitted facility in Nevada in their original state and original and verifiable packaging as purchased. Specific menu items are not allowed at Special Events regardless of source due to the hazard presented with such items. All menu items must be approved by the Washoe County Health District.
- FOOD STORAGE, HANDLING, AND PREPARATION
All food storage, handling, preparation, and re-thermalization shall be done on-site or in an approved permitted facility. Food storage, handling, preparation, thermalization, and/or re-thermalization in a home kitchen or residence are strictly prohibited. A metal stem thermometer, 0°F to 220°F, is required to monitor food temperatures. Cooking, cooling, and re-heating of potentially hazardous foods are not allowed.
Cold Storage: All potentially hazardous foods shall be held at 45°F or below prior to thermalization or re-heating, following cool down or as a cold service ingredient or menu item.
Required Cooking Temperatures: Beef: 140°F, Minimum; Pork: 150°F, Minimum; Hotdogs: 165°F, Minimum; Hamburger: 155°F, Minimum; Chicken: 165°F, Minimum; All Other Foods: 140°F, Minimum
Hot Holding: All potentially hazardous foods shall be held at 140°F or above following thermalization or re-heating until served. No chafing dishes are allowed at outdoor events. Gas or electric holding units are required (e.g. steam table, stove, oven, etc.). All hot holding units shall be emptied of food product at the closing of each day of an event. Food emptied from hot holding units shall not be re-served.
Condiments shall be dispensed from a pump or served in single-service packets.
Booths that offer samples shall serve individual portions. Common bowls are strictly prohibited.
- HAND WASHING
Booths without hot and cold running water shall provide a minimum 2 gallon container of water with a spigot to provide gravity flow, liquid soap, and paper towels for hand wash, along with a water-tight catch basin for greywater generated at the hand wash station.
- FOOD HANDLER HYGIENIC PRACTICE
Drinking and smoking is strictly prohibited in any food preparation or foodservice area. Any person with open cuts, sores, or wounds is strictly prohibited from food preparation and/or service. If a person is cut during food preparation or service the person shall STOP work immediately and tend to the wound. The operator shall ensure appropriate cleanup and sanitation of all affected areas and equipment and discard any contaminated or potentially contaminated food or consumer use items.
Food, utensils, and single service articles shall be transported and stored a minimum of 6 inches above the ground or floor surface. Food, utensils, and single service articles shall be transported, handled, and stored in such a manner as to prevent contamination from non-food items and/or cross-contamination of cooked and/or processed foods with raw foods. Handled scoops for service ice, popcorn, and other bulk items are required.
- UTENSIL AND EQUIPMENT WASHING
All utensils, cookware, and equipment shall be washed, rinsed, and sanitized daily and as needed in a three-compartment sink with hot and cold running water. Three tub non-plumbed and drained systems are strictly prohibited. An adequate supply of clean utensils must be provided each day of operation. In lieu of a three-compartment sink during operating hours, cutting boards may be sanitized with a spray solution of 100 to 200 ppm of chlorine or other approved sanitizer. The food concessionaire shall have chemical test strips available to test sanitizer solution concentrations. Sanitize in-place equipment shall be sanitized as needed by methods approved by the Washoe County Health District.
Every foodservice operation shall have an overhead structure to protect the food (e.g. canopy). Heating and/or cooking equipment shall be barricaded or placed in an area inaccessible to the public.
All wastewater generated shall drain to a sanitary sewer or be held in a spill-proof, watertight container and disposed of in a sanitary sewer or by other method approved by the Washoe County Health District.
- SOLID WASTE
All solid waste and garbage must be stored in leakproof containers with tight fitting lids.
This is only a partial list of the requirements for Temporary Food Establishments and shall not be construed to be exclusive. To specifically determine individual booth needs, please contact the Washoe County Health District at (775) 328-2434 or (775) 328-2620.
Special Events and Temporary Food Establishments Frequently Asked Questions
- Tamales (unless prepackaged from an approved source)
- Papusas (unless prepackaged from an approved source)
- Sushi, sashimi, seared ahi or any other raw or partially raw fish or meat product.
- Other food item deemed unsafe for public consumption may be prohibited at the discretion of the Washoe County Health Authority.
- Bottled water, canned soft drinks.
- Coffee/Tea with powdered non-dairy creamer or ultra-pasteurized creamer packaged in individual servings. (This exemption does not include beverages such as lattés and espressos that are mixed with dairy product by the vendor during preparation).
- Commercially prepared acidic beverages (orange juice, lemonade, etc.) that are served from the original, properly labeled container without the addition of consumer ice or other regulated food product.
- Draft beer and other alcoholic beverages (wine) that are served without the addition of consumer ice or the addition of other regulated food product.
- Hermetically sealed and unopened containers of non-potentially hazardous beverages, which do not require refrigeration (sport drinks, energy drinks, etc.).
- Hot chocolate prepared without the use of potentially hazardous dairy products.
- Non-potentially hazardous prepackaged baked goods with proper labeling from an approved source and requiring no on-site preparation (opening of package and contact with food item).
- Non-potentially hazardous and unopened prepackaged foods from an approved source with proper labeling such as honey, jerked meats, potato chips, popcorn and other similar foods.
- Produce sold from a produce stand where no sampling or food preparation is done.
- Commercially prepared, prepackaged, and unopened ice cream that is appropriately labeled as to ingredients and manufacturer. Smoothie products (Jamba Juice and Keva Juice) made and prepackaged at the fixed permitted facility and appropriately labeled with ingredients and manufacturer.
- Shelled and unshelled nuts, including flavored nuts for sample or sale.
- Food Supplements that are offered for sample or sale without the addition of regulated food items. These include, but are not limited to vitamins, minerals, protein powder mixes, energy drinks, and herbal mixtures.
- Foods from an approved source prepared for a “cook-off” or judging contest limited to one (1) gallon maximum of food product per contestant per day.