Temporary Food Facility Guidelines

Revised on: May 31, 2002

Purpose: An on-campus temporary food facility shall comply with the requirements set forth by the Cal State L.A. Environmental Health and Safety Office (EH&S), County of Los Angeles, Department of Health Services (DHS), and the California Uniform Retail Food Facilities Law.  The EH&S Office and/or the County of Los Angeles, DHS may restrict operations and impose additional requirements to protect against health hazards related to the conduct of the temporary food facility and may prohibit the sale of some or all potentially hazardous foods.  These temporary food facility guidelines are consistent with federal, state, and local regulations.

Organizations Affected:  All on-campus and off-campus organizations that choose to sell or give food and/or food related items to the general public.  In particular student, faculty, or staff organizations, private individuals or entities, and private food facilities.


  • Information and Applications for Temporary Events.  County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services, Public Health Programs and Services, Environmental Health.
  • California Uniform Retail Food Facilities Law, Amended Health and Safety Code, Division 22, Chapter 4, State of California, Department of Health Services, Food and Drug Branch.
  • Environmental Engineering and Sanitation, 4th edition, Joseph A. Salvato
  • Food Code - 1993,  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration


Temporary Food Facilities:

Alcohol - The sale, giving away, or distribution, of any alcoholic or controlled substances, in a temporary food facility, is strictly forbidden.

Potentially Hazardous Foods - Only those potentially hazardous foods and beverages requiring limited preparation, such as hamburgers and frankfurters that only require seasoning and cooking, shall be prepared or served.  The sale of these foods will require prior approval from the EH&S Office.  Under no circumstances shall the following potentially hazardous foods and beverages be prepared or sold:

  • Pastries filled with cream or synthetic cream, custards, and similar products.
  • Sandwiches or salads containing meat, poultry, eggs, fish or seafood: i.e. potato, macaroni, chicken, ham, tuna deviled egg, or similar salads.
  • All home prepared foods, i.e. home canned foods,  home cooked fish, meats, poultry including salads, casseroles or sauces containing such products, homemade cakes, pies, or pastries which have a cream, whipped cream, or custard filling or icing.
  • Beverages containing raw egg or raw egg substitute.

This prohibition does not apply to any potentially hazardous food or beverage that has been prepared and packaged under conditions meeting the requirements of the California Health and Safety Code, is obtained in individual servings, or is served directly in the unopened container in which it was packaged.  Nor does this prohibition apply to approved, potentially hazardous foods that have been heated/reheated to a temperature at or above 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.8 degrees Celsius) and then stored at or above 145 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of time not to exceed 2 hours on a single day.  Nor does this prohibition apply to approved, potentially hazardous foods that are stored at or below a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of time not to exceed 4 hours on a single day.  All approved, potentially hazardous foods must be stored in facilities meeting the requirements of these guidelines at all times.

Ice - Ice shall be obtained only in chipped, crushed, or cubed form and in single use safe plastic or wet strength paper bags filled and sealed at the point of manufacturer.  Ice that is consumed or that contacts food shall be dispensed only by food service worker with scoops, tongs, or other ice-dispensing utensils or through automatic self-service, ice dispensing equipment.  Ice-dispensing utensils shall be stored on a clean surface or in the ice with the dispensing utensil's handle extended out of the ice.  Between uses, ice transfer receptacles shall be stored in a way that protects them from contamination and shall be maintained separate from ice used for refrigeration purposes.  Ice storage bins shall be drained through an air gap.

Food Service Workers:

  • Persons serving foods must have clean hands at all times, clean outer garments, adequate hair restraints (caps or hairnets), and not suffer from respiratory, intestinal, or skin infections.
  • They must wash their hands before handling food and at frequent intervals.
  • Persons serving food may not smoke in food booths or by serving areas.
  • Food service workers should avoid direct contact with food, and should instead use scoops, tongs, or disposable gloves.
  • Food service workers must wash their hands each time they leave the stand, after taking breaks, or using toilet facilities.

Equipment - Equipment shall be located and installed in a way that prevents food contamination and that also facilitates cleaning the establishment.  All equipment that comes in contact with food must be stored at least 6 inches above the ground on shelving or pallets within the stand.

Utensils - All utensils shall be free of any chips, cracks, or defects.  Temporary food facilities shall provide only clean, single service eating and drinking utensils for use by the consumer.  All washable utensils (pots, pans, scoops, ladles, etc.), shall be washed and cleaned at approved utensil washing facilities as indicated on the temporary food facility application.

Potable Water - Enough potable water shall be available in the facility for food preparation, cleaning, and hand washing.

Storage - All food containers, utensils, and equipment that comes in contact with food shall be stored at least 6 inches off the floor on shelving or pallets and must not come in contact with water or undrained ice.  Wrapped foods shall not be stored in direct contact with ice.

Waste Disposal - An adequate number of approved metal or plastic trash cans with tight fitting lids must be provided by the student organization for the disposal of waste materials.  The area surrounding the temporary food facility must be kept clean at all times and left in a clean condition at the conclusion of each day's service.  Trash and liquid wastes (e.g. grease, ice condensate, beverage waste, etc.) shall be disposed of in a manner approved by the Environmental Health & Safety Office.

Food Stand Construction and Placement:

  • The location and type of open flame cooking equipment is subject to approval by the Environmental Health & Safety Office and the local fire department.  Use of one of the following methods of cooking is suggested: liquid propane gas, electrical burners, and propane or charcoal barbecues using self-starting charcoal.  The use of rice cookers and crock pots are allowed on a limited basis.  Liquid starter fluid is prohibited.
  • Equipment shall be placed to avoid customer contact with all heating/cooking devices.
  • Foods which are cooked on the barbecue must be dispensed directly from the barbecue using sanitary utensils.
  • Food preparation will be as limited as possible and subject to the approval of the EH&S Office or other designated health officials.
  • If barbecues or gas stoves are used, a 10 pound ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher must be on site.
  • Ashes must not be dumped in the area.  The sponsoring organization should provide a fireproof container for the disposal of ashes from the grill.

Protective Environment - The following requirements shall be met for the adequate protection of food that is being served in a temporary food facility:

  • The open, unprotected display or service of food is prohibited.
  • All food preparation, food display and food service or self-service areas or enclosures shall be adequately protected from dust, contamination by patrons and from insects by provisions of shields, screens, or other approved barriers or devices and stored at least 6 inches above the ground on shelving or pallets within the stand.
  • All food shall be prepared in a licensed/permitted food establishment or on the premises of a temporary food facility, as indicated on the application.
  • No food or beverage stored or prepared in a private home may be offered for sale, sold, or given away from a temporary food facility.
  • Self-service is allowed only if items are individually wrapped.

Means of Exclusion - An approved means of excluding insects and vermin from food preparation, service, storage and waste storage areas must be provided.  These facilities shall be commensurate with the type and scope of food service permitted.

Children - Children shall be under the direct supervision of a responsible adult at all times.

Animals - Except as provided below, live animals, birds, or fowl shall not be kept or allowed in temporary food facilities.

  • The statement above does not prohibit the presence, in any area where food is served to the public, guest, or patrons, of a guide dog, signal dog, or service dog, as defined by Section 54.1 of the Civil Code, accompanied by a totally or partially blind person, deaf person, person whose hearing is impaired, or handicapped person, or dogs accompanied by persons licensed to train guide dogs for the blind pursuant to Chapter 9.5 (commencing with Section 7200) of the Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code.
  • Paragraph 4.1.(t)(1) does not apply to dogs under the control of uniformed law enforcement officers or of uniformed employees of private patrol operators and operators of a private patrol service who are licensed pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 7500) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, while these employees are acting within the course and scope of their employment as private patrol persons.
  • The persons and operators described in the Paragraph 4.1.(t)(2) are liable for any damage done to the premises or facilities by the dog.
  • The dogs described in paragraphs 4.1.(t)(1) and 4.1.(t)(2) shall be excluded from food preparation and utensil wash areas.

Corrective Actions:

Suspension of Permit - EH&S or DHS may suspend any permit to operate a temporary food facility if:

  • The permit holder does not comply with the requirements of these guidelines.
  • The operation of the temporary food facility does not comply with the requirements of these guidelines.
  • The operation of the temporary food facility otherwise constitutes a substantial or imminent health hazard to the public.

Illegal Vendor - Any unauthorized or un-permitted vendor found participating in an event shall be ordered to leave the event premises by Center for Student Involvement, Associated Students, Inc., University Auxiliary Services, Inc., University Police or EH&S.


Promoter/Sponsor Responsibility - It will be the promoter/sponsor's responsibility to insure that only vendors permitted by EH&S and DHS shall participate in the event.  The promoter/sponsor must also notify EH&S at least 10 days prior to the event taking place by providing a list of food vendors whom will be allowed by that promoter/sponsor to participate in the event.  Enforcement will be enacted in accordance with current EH&S Temporary Food Facility Guidelines.

Plans and Applications - A plan and application are to be submitted for every event to EH&S.

Campus/Student Organizations - Campus organizations and campus student organizations are required to obtain a Cal State LA Temporary Food Facility Permit when operating a temporary food facility.  Permit fees however, are not required for temporary food facilities operated by campus organizations or campus student organizations provided they meet the following conditions:

  • Campus organizations must be affiliated with an academic or university department or, student organizations must be recognized by the Center for Student Involvement, and "A STATEMENT OF POLICY REGARDING FUNDRAISERS: Distribution of Funds" must be signed. 
  • All necessary paperwork (i.e. plans, application, statement of policy regarding fund-raisers, etc.) must be submitted to the EH&S Office in ADM 301, at least 10 working days prior to the event. 

Off-Campus Caterers - If the food is purchased from an off-campus caterer or the temporary food service is performed by an off-campus caterer, the sponsoring organization must provide the caterer's complete name, address and menu.  In order for the off-campus caterer to be considered and approved, the caterer must possess an 85 or greater rating with the County of Los Angeles or their local jurisdiction.  In addition, the sponsoring organization must obtain from the off-campus caterer the following three documents, to be attached with the Temporary Food Facility Permit:

  • A copy of the caterer's license to do business in the County of Los Angeles.
  • A copy of the caterer's Los Angeles County Health Department permit.
  • A certificate of liability insurance in the amount of One Million Dollars and No Cents ($1,000,000.00) or more naming California State University, Los Angeles and Cal State LA University Auxiliary Services, Inc. as additional insureds.

Food Demonstrator Responsibility - Any person or persons desiring to serve food to the public, free of charge, shall comply with the current EH&S Temporary Food Facility Guidelines as well as the requirements and fees set forth by DHS.