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City of Austin Temporary Food Service Requirements

The following are requirements for organizers and individuals involved in temporary food service operations in Austin and Travis County. A temporary food service is service of food at a location for no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with an organized event or celebration. These requirements are based on the Texas Food Establishment Rules and have been adopted by the City of Austin City and Travis County.

Violation of any requirement may result in an immediate closure, condemnation of food products, or legal charges.

  1. Phone the Health Department temporary food service coordinator at (978-0352) at least 10 days prior to event. For large events, it may be necessary for the event organizer to meet with a Health Department coordinator one month prior to the event in order to properly plan food and sanitation facilities. The phone number is 512-978-0352.
  2. Complete permit application and submit required fee. See payment schedule on application.
  3. Distribute copies of “Temporary Food Service Requirements” at least 1 week prior to the event to the participants who will be serving or preparing food.
  4. Provide adequate toilet facilities for both food service participants and the public.
  5. Provide adequate wastewater facilities for the disposal of utensil washing wastewater generated by the participants. Collected wastewater should be held in separate screen-covered containers until properly disposed at the commissary kitchen or removed by a permitted liquid waste hauler. Discharges to the commissary kitchen must be to a drain upstream of an adequately sized and regularly cleaned grease trap at a kitchen with a valid Wastewater Discharge Permit, where required. The disposal of any such waste to a facility other than the permitted and approved commissary kitchen must be done using a licensed liquid waste hauler to transport the waste to a facility permitted to accept food service industrial waste.
  6. Provide adequate facilities for the disposal of used cooking grease generated by the participants. Collected cooking grease should be held in closed containers. The participant must make arrangements with a waste grease recycling service or properly permitted recycling/disposal facility for the collection or disposal of this waste. No dumping of any grease into portable toilets.
  7. Provide adequate electrical supply to all booths that require it for the maintenance of proper food temperatures and adequate lighting.
  8. Provide refrigeration facilities needed by the booths for maintenance of proper food temperatures. Refrigerators and refrigerated trucks shall be provided with interior lighting and thermometers.
  9. Provide adequate dust control and floor covering.

PERMISSION MAY BE REQUIRED FROM OTHER DEPARTMENTS:

  1. Right-of-Way Department: You may be required to obtain a “Temporary Change of Use” permit from the Right-of-Way (ROW) Management Department. You may contact ROW at 512-974-7180. This type of permit is required when vending in the right-of-way (i.e. sidewalks).
  2. Development Assistance Center: You may be required to obtain a “Temporary Use Permit” from the Development Assistance Center (DAC) located at 505 Barton Springs (One Texas Center) on the First Floor. For assistance you may call 512-974-2202. Walk-ins are taken from 8 AM until 12 PM. This type of permit is required when changing the intended use of an area (i.e. vending in parking lots).

Temporary Food Service Requirements

The following requirements are for temporary food service operations in Austin and Travis County and are based upon the Texas Food Establishment Rules, which have been adopted by the Austin City Code. A temporary establishment is the service of food at a location for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with an organized event or celebration. The event organizer is responsible for providing these requirements to each booth coordinator/vendors at least one week prior to the event. It is the responsibility of each individual food service booth to meet the following requirements:

Post at each booth a valid permit and booth guidelines issued by the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department.

Critical operation requirements: Failure to comply with the following requirements shall result in an immediate closure. Closure is in effect until the item(s) is corrected:

  1. Keep potentially hazardous foods colder than 41°F or hotter than 135°F at all times. Most hot foods should be initially heated to 165°F within 2 hours and maintained at 135°F. Leftover food intended for reuse needs to be rapidly cooled by placing food in shallow containers (depth of less than 4 inches) and refrigerating it uncovered. Cover refrigerated food as soon as the food has cooled to 41°F.
  2. Provide facilities to wash hands to include: hand soap, paper towels, container of warm water and a wastewater bucket. Water container must be designed with a spigot that allows the user to wash hands freely without continuously depressing the spigot or tilting the container. Following hand washing, gloves or a hand-sanitizer shall be used when handling ready to eat foods. Beneath the hand washing container shall be a bucket to collect wastewater. Collected wastewater must be disposed of in the wastewater barrels provided by the event organizer.
  3. Provide utensil washing if food preparation involves utensils. Provide 3 basins if no permanent facilities are on site. The first basin is for washing and has detergent wash water only. The middle basin is for rinsing and has only clean water (replace as needed). The third basin is for soaking utensils for 1 minute in a sanitizing solution of 50-100ppm chlorine (1 1/2 teaspoons bleach per gallon of clean water). Utensils to be dried only with air or paper towels. Suggestion: conserve water and use only the amount needed to prevent wastewater barrels from overflowing. Keep utensil washing basins covered or beneath overhead protection. Remember the proper sequence: WASH, RINSE & SANITIZE!
  4. Utilize fuel or electricity for hot holding units. Insulated containers with no active source of heat are unacceptable. Sterno is not permitted for outdoor events, unless properly hooded to prevent wind effects. The Health Authority can pre-approve alternative means for maintaining temperatures. Wrapped sandwiches must not to be stored in direct contact with ice. Active refrigeration will be required for multiple day events.

Additional operational requirements

  1. Monitor food temperatures with a metal stem-type thermometer. Thermometers should have a range of 0°F-220°F. Thermometers should be cleaned and sanitized between uses.
  2. Use only cutting boards, utensils, equipment, food preparation and serving surfaces that are constructed of easily cleanable material. Clean and sanitize these items frequently during the event. Table cloths can only be used if they are frequently replaced.
  3. Use a different set of utensils and prep surfaces to prepare raw or partially cooked foods that is separate from the utensils and surfaces used to prepare fully cooked foods.
  4. Test sanitizing solutions with chlorine test paper. Sanitizing solution must be kept between 50-100 ppm chlorine. Test papers can be found at restaurant supply stores.
  5. Use spray bottles of sanitizing solution and paper towels to frequently wipe counters and to spot clean equipment.
  6. Store ice for drinks or consumption in their original bag in an ice chest during service. Ice bags shall be punctured underneath to allow drainage and open on the top to allow dispensing. Consumers shall not dispense their own ice for drinks. Ice shall be dispensed with scoops with handles. Nothing other than the ice scoop shall be stored in this ice.
  7. Protect all foods, utensils and paper goods from exposure to dirt, dust and insects. These items must be kept covered or wrapped to minimize exposure to potential contaminants. Keep cups wrapped in their original plastic sleeves until dispensed. Thaw foods by placing them in a refrigerator overnight, by covering them with ice in an ice chest that is constantly draining into a wastewater container, by placing them under cold running water, or by cooking them from completely frozen until fully cooked. Thawing foods at air temperature or in standing water is prohibited.
  8. Provide only disposable utensils, plates, cups, knives, forks, spoons, etc. to the consumer. Provide only condiments that are individually packaged or dispensed from an approved covered container. Foil, plastic wrap, etc. do not provide adequate protection.

Structural operations

  1. Collect drainage water from ice bins, ice chests, beverage dispensers, hand & utensil washing, and similar equipment in buckets or pans for disposal in the wastewater barrels provided by the event organizer or in a sanitary sewer (i.e. mop sink). Drainage must never be discarded on the ground.
  2. Provide covered garbage containers with plastic liners.
  3. Provide floor covering that will eliminate dust and be easily cleaned. Flooring must be in cooking, serving, food preparation, and utensil washing area. Approved floor coverings are concrete, asphalt, plywood, linoleum, clean cardboard that is replaced daily, overturned carpeting, or a surface approved in advance by the Health Authority.
  4. Provide overhead covering above food preparation, cooking, serving, and utensil washing area. Food prepared outside the following parameters may be detained or discarded.
  5. Serve only foods requiring minimum preparation such as seasoning and cooking, or food specifically approved in advance by the Health Authority. All cutting, slicing, or chopping must be done in an approved facility, not outside.
  6. Failure to provide the name of the booth/organization and a listing of all food items and the names and addresses of food suppliers/ facilities used for food preparation (all facilities used must be permitted). Ice and food containing potentially hazardous foods (meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and cooked beans, rice, potatoes) must be supplied from and prepared from a food establishment permitted by the Health Authority. No home-preparation/storage of food or ice is allowed.

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