Division of Environmental Health

Fairfax County, Virginia

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

Temporary food establishments are usually operated at fairs, carnivals, festivals or similar events. If prepared foods will be sold to the general public, a Temporary Food Establishment Permit must be issued to the food vendors. Applications for a permit must be received at least 10 days prior to the event.

Will your event have animal exhibits, such as pony rides, a petting zoo, or a wildlife show? If so, click here for additional resources: event animals

Step 1: Event Coordinator Provides Vendor With Appropriate Materials

The Event Coordinator fills out the Temporary Food Event (TFE) application in PLUS and provides a list of participating food vendors with contact information and their proposed menus, and a layout map of the event including location of toilets and waste disposal.

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: Determine If You Need a Permit

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 and other events. A Temporary Food Establishment includes at least one of the following:

  • A food establishment with a current and valid Permit to Operate issued by the Fairfax County Health Department.
  • A restaurant with a food establishment permit or license issued by a health jurisdiction other than Fairfax County that is participating as a food vendor.
  • A firm that is under an inspection program conducted by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) offering unpackaged samples of their product, including cutting or slicing produce items at a farmer’s market. (See sampling guidelines.)
  • A gourmet food vendor who offers unpackaged samples of their product to the public. (See sampling guidelines.)
  • A mobile food unit.
  • A demonstration cooking booth where samples are offered to the public.
  • A restaurant that donates or sells food to a 501c3 organization.
  • An organization that does not meet tax-exempt status (501c3), whether sponsoring or participating as a vendor in an event.

Please contact the Health Department at 703-246-2201 if you are not sure your operation meets the definition of a temporary food establishment. (For a list of exemptions to these requirements, please refer to Title 35.1-25 of the Code of Virginia.)

Step 3: Vendor Applies for Permit

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