Catering FAQ

A food establishment that serves or prepares food at a location other than its permitted location for a contracted food service event. This includes a place of business or organization that routinely contracts with a catering food establishment to provide food items for individual sale to employees or members of that business, if the food was prepared in a commissary and transported, displayed, handled and offered for sale as specified in these regulations.

Catering food establishment does not include:

  1. Food ordered as take-out or delivery from the food establishment that prepared the food, where the food is given to the consumer for self-service.
  2. Third-party food delivery services
  3. Food that is brought from home and presented pot-luck style in a place of business for consumption by the employees of that business, without payment, as long as the business does not offer the food to the public.
  4. Food that is prepared and offered for free distribution to feed the needy, whether done by a charitable organization, a private citizen, citizen group, or a business.

A caterer must operate from a permitted food establishment which serves as support for the preparation and storage of food and cleaning and storage of equipment. A caterer is not permitted to use his/her home for food service.

A permitted food establishment, such as a restaurant, may host contracted catering events without obtaining an additional catering health permit provided that the food establishment possesses the necessary equipment to prepare and transport the menu items safely. The food establishment must follow the regulations when preparing, transporting and serving the food, and may be required to obtain a separate catering permit.

A caterer is required to obtain a Temporary Health Permit to sell food at an event if it is open to the public and food is sold directly to individual customers.

A caterer is not required to obtain a temporary health permit to serve food at an event that is private, and food is not sold directly to individual customers. If members of the public can purchase tickets to an event, it is not considered private.

A catering permit allows for the service of food at a contracted private event where individual meals are not sold on-site. An Annual Itinerant permit allows for the service and sale of individual meals at the site of a public event.

A private chef is not required to obtain a health permit if he/she is solely providing a cooking service to a customer. Private chefs that use a homeowner’s/church’s/private club’s kitchen to prepare and serve foods in a private venue are not required to have a health permit.

The homeowner/church/club must provide the food, or the private chef must obtain the food to be prepared from a retail source and transport the foods directly to the venue. Any interim storage of foods is prohibited without a permit.

Yes, immediately prior to transport, all TCS temperatures shall be taken and recorded on a log to ensure that the FOOD is placed in the vehicle at proper temperatures. (12-303.13)

Any employee of a catering food establishment engaged in handling, storing, transporting, preparing, manufacturing, serving, or selling open food, or who comes in contact with eating or cooking utensils, or other equipment used in the handling, preparation, manufacture, service, or sale of food shall possess a valid food handler health card issued by the health authority.

The health authority shall have access to any vehicle utilized by a catering food establishment to ensure that:

  1. The vehicle used for transportation is constructed, equipped, and maintained in a manner that protects all food, equipment, utensils, tableware, and linen from contamination.
  2. The vehicle is maintained clean, free of trash, food debris, spills, insects, or any other source of contamination to the food or equipment.
  3. Any chemical substances, transported in the same vehicle as food, are properly and securely segregated from the food and food service equipment.
  4. Soiled tableware, utensils, and linen shall be properly and securely segregated from food and clean equipment during transport to prevent cross-contamination.
  5. Unauthorized access to, or tampering with, food, packages, and other items in the vehicle is prevented.

Contact Information

Phone: (702) 759-1258


Updated on: July 11, 2021