Division of Environmental Health

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our Environmental Health Services office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.
703-246-2201 TTY 711
10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
Pieter A. Sheehan, REHS
Director, Division of Environmental Health

Health Permits for Temporary Food Establishments

A Temporary Food Establishment is a type of food establishment that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration, including carnivals, fairs, festivals, farmers markets, and other similar public gatherings.
If you are planning on operating as a food vendor at a temporary event in Fairfax County (including Fairfax City, City of Falls Church, and the Town of Herndon) you will likely be required to obtain a Temporary Food Establishment Permit (TFEP).

A food vendor at a Temporary Food Event (TFE) must submit an application for a Temporary Food Event Permit if they meet at least one of the following: 

  • A food establishment with a current, valid Food Establishment Permit issued by the Fairfax County Health Department.
  • A food establishment with a Food Establishment Permit issued by a health jurisdiction other than Fairfax County and is participating as a food vendor.
  • A firm/organization/company/business that is under an inspection program conducted by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).
  • A gourmet food vendor who offers unpackaged samples of products to the public.
  • A Mobile Food Unit (MFU) that does not have a current and valid Fairfax County MFU permit.
  • A demonstration cooking booth where samples are offered to the public.
  • A restaurant that donates or sells food to a 501c3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization.
  • An organization that does not meet tax-exempt status under 501c3, whether sponsoring or participating as a vendor in an event.

The permit must be posted where it can easily be seen by the public, and it is only valid for the specified permit period. This permit is not transferable.

Please contact the Health Department at 703-246-2201 or email us at HDehd@fairfaxcounty.gov, if you are not sure your operation meets the definition of a Temporary Food Establishment. Refer to Title Title 35.1-25 of the Code of Virginia for a list of exemptions to these requirements.

How to Apply

Please apply on the Planning and Land Use System at least 10 days prior to the event.

Step 1: Event Coordinator Registers the Event in PLUS

The Event Coordinator completes and submits the Temporary Food Event application in PLUS. As part of the application process the Event Coordinator must provide a list of participating food vendors with contact information and a layout map of the event to include location of toilets and waste disposal. Event Coordinators will receive email notifications from PLUS when a vendor applies for a TFEP for their event.

See Temporary Food Establishments Requirements & Information Packet for vendors who wish to prepare and serve food to the public during a temporary event in Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, and Falls Church.

Step 2: Vendor Applies for Permit

  • See Temporary Food Establishments Requirements & Information Packet and sampling guidelines.
  • Temporary Food Vendors are required to submit a as Temporary Food Establishment Permit (TFEP) application in PLUS. Within the application, select the event from the existing Event List. If the event is not listed, choose “Other” and enter the event name and details.
  • The completed application and fee must be received at least ten (10) days prior to the event.

Additional Information

Training materials are available to help you navigate the new PLUS portal.

Will your event have animal exhibits, such as pony rides, a petting zoo, or a wildlife show? If so, see additional animal event resources.

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