Department of Public Health

Temporary Food License Information

Temporary Food Vendor Training Video

training video

What is a Temporary Food License?

A temporary food license allows a group or individual to serve food at a set location for a period of up to 14 days. Common uses of temporary licenses include:
  • Restaurants that prepare food outside of the restaurant
  • Churches that only hold 1-3 events per year
  • Groups who serve food at annual community events
  • Food trucks that serve while completing the licensing process

For more information, please review the Temporary Licensing Packet.

Who Needs a Temporary License?

A temporary license is required if food is being prepared at a site that is not already licensed. Preparation includes cooking, heating, cooling, or assembling (such as putting together a sandwich). Licenses are required for:

  • Caterers doing additional cooking or preparation on site
  • Licensed facilities bringing food and doing additional preparation on site
  • Non-profit agencies doing food preparation on site
  • Churches holding full congregation events or outreach events such as Vacation Bible School
  • Charitable, religious, fraternal, civic service, or other non-profits doing food preparation on site for public events (public invitations include signs, written or spoken advertisement, website, emails, etc.).

If you plan to hold more than three (3) events in one location per year, you'll need to apply for a full license. For more information, please visit Food Service Licenses.

This flowchart provides guidance about license requirements. Please contact Ottawa County Environmental Health at (616) 393-5645 or for additional questions or clarification.

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Who Does Not Need a Temporary License?

  • Caterers or other licensed establishments that have prepared all food in a licensed kitchen and are doing no food preparation on site. The food must be delivered and served by staff of the licensed kitchen/caterer.
  • Groups or individuals serving pre-packaged (not prepared on-site), non-potentially hazardous foods such as bagged chips, soda, bottled water, and/or prepackaged ice cream.
  • Charitable, religious, fraternal, civic service, or other non-profits using home prepared food for a members only event.
  • Churches hosting an event for a closed group within the church (e.g., church choir or youth group).
  • Non-profit fundraiser with all home prepared foods (nothing prepared on site).
  • Wild game dinners

If your event is exempt from licensure, you must hang this sign in a location visible to the public. If you are preparing or serving wild game in compliance with the law, you must hang this sign in a location visible to the public.

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How to Receive a Temporary License

Complete the following steps to receive a temporary license:
  • Application - Complete the Temporary License Application and submit it to the Ottawa County Environmental Health office with the appropriate payment.
  • Temporary License Fee $209
    Non-profit Fee with 501c3 $155
    Non-profit Fee without 501c3 $159
    Late Fee (within 7 days of the even) $50
    Late Fee (within 24 hours of the even) $100
  • Consult - The application will be reviewed by an Environmental Health Specialist (EHS) or Technician (EHT). They will call the person listed on the application approximately one week before the event to review and confirm the information listed on the license.
  • Inspection - An EHS or EHT will visit the site on the first day of food service and complete the inspection.
  • License - If there is not any open priority or priority foundation violations, the facility will be issued a licensed. This must occur prior to food being served. The license must be displayed in a location visible to the public being served.
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Temporary License Checklist

The following are required for licensure:

Hand washing:
  • Option 1 - Indoor hand sink. This is only approved if the event is held indoors AND is in close proximity to the hand sink. Hand sinks in separate rooms may not be approved.
  • Option 2 - Self-contained portable unit
  • Option 3- Large insulated drink container with spigot and catch bucket

All handwashing sinks must have:

  • warm water (100+ °F)
  • hand soap
  • paper towels

Three basin sink set-up for dish washing and sanitizing:

  • Basin 1 – warm water (110+ °F) with soap
  • Basin 2 – clean water
  • Basin 3 – water with sanitizer
Test strips (be sure to purchase the correct test strips) and sanitizer.

Approved sanitizers:

  • Chlorine Bleach (unscented and approved for food contact surfaces-check the label)
  • Quaternary Ammonia (Quat)

Wiping cloths

Metal stem thermometer (0-220 °F)

Food approved gloves

Hair restraints

If the event is held outside; a canopy, tent, or umbrella must be available.

Based on the menu, the following items must be available:

Cold Foods (raw meat, cut vegetables, cut melon, milk, dairy products, etc.)

  • Ice chest/cooler (with ice), refrigerator, or freezer
  • All potentially hazardous foods must be held cold below 41 °F

Hot Foods (cooked meats, cooked vegetables, cooked pasta, etc.)

  • Cooking equipment: grill/BBQ, fryer, oven, roaster, or griddle
  • Hot holding equipment: steam tables, grill/BBQ, chafing dish (with fuel), slow cooker, or roaster
  • All potentially hazardous foods must be held hot above 135 °F

If your water is not from a municipal (city) water source, you need to submit test results for the well. Please contact OCDPH, (616) 393-5645 at least two weeks prior to your event for more information. Print Checklist

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