What is a special event?

An advertised public event where food is sold or given away to the public. Public events include county fairs, traveling fairs, holiday fairs, city festivals, entertainment events, cook-offs, fundraising events or any other event that is open to the public.

What role does MCHD play at special events?

  • Inspection of food vendors.
  • Issuance of a temporary permit, food handling and sanitation surveys.
  • Promote public health in areas of food safety and sanitation.
  • Prevent occurrence of foodborne illnesses.

What is the purpose of a temporary permit?

  • A temporary permit is issued on-site after conducting an inspection of the facility.
  • The inspection is intended to check areas of concern as it pertains to food safety.
  • A temporary permit tells the public that the facility meets the minimum requirements for a temporary food establishment.

What does MCHD look for when inspecting vendors?

  • Approved food source.
  • Food storage, handling and preparation.
  • Proper handwashing and warewashing facilities.
  • Proper establishment construction.
  • Food handler hygienic practices.
  • Utensil and equipment storage and sanitation.
  • Water source and disposal.
  • Approved Food Handler Cards.

Are there special event vendor registrations and fees?

  • Vendors must contact the Food and Lodging Department at least five business days prior to the special event for requirements and registrations.
  • A vendor can access special event requirements at Environmental Services.
  • Special event fees per temporary establishment as of May 1, 2013:
    (a) 0-3 days, $175,
    (b) 4-14 days, $200,
    (c) Over 14 days, $400.
  • Fees must be deliverable to the MCHD, Food and Lodging, Building #6.
  • Acceptable payments are cash, money orders or business checks.
Bake Sales and Prepared Meal Fundraisers

Are there any temporary food event exemptions?

Yes. Prepackaged and unopened non-perishable snacks and candy, canned and bottled soft drinks and water in the original container, canned and bottled pasteurized juices in the original container and whole produce are all exempt from permit.

Do I need a temporary food permit if I am giving food away?

No. Food that is given away free of charge are considered exempt from the permitting requirements unless it is given to a commercial food establishment. If you are not sure, it is best to contact an inspector of MCHD.

Can I prepare food for a special event at home?

No storage, slicing, dicing, marinating, cooking or any processes related to food preparation for any food item, dressing, garnish or other is allowed at a private residence for items served to the general public at a special event.

If I register and pay for a temporary permit, does this mean I am approved to operate?

No. The registration is subject to review and food service operations must comply with regulations before the operation.

Is there an annual permit to cover a full special event season?

No. Temporary permits are issued for each event and can only be used at the event.

If I already have a permit for my restaurant or mobile food unit, do I need a temporary food permit?

Yes. A permit is not transferable from person to person or place to place.

Can I prepare food for a special event ahead of time at an approved facility?

Advanced preparation must be approved by the Health Department ahead of time. Menu items, storage, transport, time and temperature will all be considered before such approval is granted. Cooking and cooling food items prior to an event are usually not allowed.


Bake Sales and Prepared Meal Fundraisers

Religious Exemptions are now offered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Festival Center (Suite 101-A). The shopping center is at the corner of Airport Boulevard and Montlimar Avenue in West Mobile.

*There is a $30 administrative document fee for a Religious Exemption.

*The parent or legal guardian must submit a written objection and receive education on the consequences of not immunizing their child.

*Parents and guardians interested in requesting a Religious Exemption for their school-age children must do so in person.

*By State School Immunization Law, a Religious Exemption can only be issued to kindergarten through 12th grade and not to the institutions of higher learning or adults.

*Children do not have to be present for the Religious Exemption to be issued.

*For information call 251-690-8923.

Groups wishing to have departments from MCHD and Family Health take part in an event must complete an outreach request form. This should be sent back to J. Mark Bryant, MCHD’s Public Information Officer, via email to mbryant@mchd.org. He will then forward it to the designated departments. For additional information, please call 251-690-8823.