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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Temporary food service business permit

Temporary food establishments include food booths at fairs and festivals that operate at a fixed location with a fixed menu for twenty one days or less.

Step 1 Considerations for getting a temporary event food permit

Are you going to one event, or will you go to many events in a year?

If one event, you should purchase a single event permit.

  • Submit an application and receive a permit for each event.
  • Receive an inspection for each permit.

If you are the coordinator of a single event that will have many vendors or groups preparing food, consider a "blanket permit" option.

  • A single permit billed hourly ($215) for all services provided to all vendors; individual vendors not required to buy a permit
  • Coordinator submits blanket application and $215 nonrefundable fee 30 days before event.
  • Coordinator gathers and submits all completed temporary applications at least 14 days before event.

If many events, consider these options:

  • Minimal temporary food permit
    • May apply for the unlimited permit at any time
    • No location information required
    • No Certified Booth Operator required
    • Only prepackaged potentially hazardous foods are offered
      • All foods packaged
      • No sampling of unpackaged foods

  • Multiple permit package allows 5 permits for the price of 2
    • Requires a Certified Booth Operator (additional food safety education) in every booth using the multiple permit
    • Requires menu and location information for each event you attend
    • Will receive random inspections

  • Earn an unlimited permit package
    • Allows unlimited event attendance for the price of less than 3 single event permits
    • Must complete a multiple (5) permit package before obtaining an unlimited permit
    • Requires a Certified Booth Operator (additional food safety education) in every booth using the unlimited permit
    • Requires menu and location information for each event you attend
    • Will receive random inspections
What kind of food are you serving?

Three levels of permits based on how complex your food will be:

  • Minimal food handling
    Where only prepackaged potentially hazardous food made under permit; no handling of unpackaged food – no sampling

  • Moderate food handling – everything between minimal and complex food handling
    Potentially hazardous foods with moderate food handling or preparation; sampling potentially hazardous foods; reheating commercially made foods (USDA/WSDA); hot holding

  • Complex food handling
    Food cooked from raw animal products; serving raw animal products; cooling steps – any foods cooked and cooled in a prep-kitchen
Situations where you might not need a permit
Temporary permit fees

Permit Type
Single Event Permit
Multiple (5) Event Permit
Unlimited Event Permit

Blanket permit
$215 non-refundable deposit + $215 an hour for all inspector services
Certified Booth Operator training

If you are seeking a multiple event permit early in 2016, we will allow you to purchase a multiple permit and have no Certified Booth Operator onsite up until February 29, 2016, to allow you to send staff to the class.

  • Multiple and unlimited permits require a certified booth operator in each booth at every event
  • Course fee is $95 per person
  • Certification lasts two years
  • Preregistration is required. Walk-ins will not be admitted to class.
  • To register for a class, please download the Certified Booth Operator Application form (fillable PDF format,) complete, and mail or bring to our offices
  • Current Tacoma-Pierce County Certified Booth Operator certifications are honored in King County

Course schedule (will be updated as courses are added):

Step 2 Temporary Food Service Plan Guide
Checklist and guidelines covering every area of your event
Step 3 Temporary Food Service permit applications

After you submit your application, you will be contacted about the status of approval. If you would like a hard copy of the application mailed to you, please call us at 206-263-9566.

Additional information and how to contact us

  • Food Worker Card
    For temporary events and farmers markets, at least one person with a valid food worker card must be present at all times during the event to oversee other workers (this would be the person in charge of the event.)

  • For temporary events within Seattle city limits, call the Downtown Seattle Food Protection Program at 206-263-9566.
  • For temporary events in all other areas of King County, call 206-477-8050.