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Temporary Food Establishments
Michigan’s Food Law, Act 92, P.A. 2000 requires a food service license when food or beverage is served or prepared for carry out, immediate consumption or consumption on the premises.
If a food event is held in a facility that already has an annual license from the health department, then the person may operate under that fixed license if the licensee or license holder so allows.   Some facilities such as township or church halls or parks may or may not have a license so it is important to check the status of the location or facility that you are planning to use for your event.
A temporary food service license can be obtained from the health department in the county where the event will take place.  Applications must be completed and a fee will be charged with the amount depending on the person or type of organization applying for the license.  An application for a license is to be submitted at least five (5) business days prior to the event.  A late fee will be charged for applications submitted less than five (5) business days prior to the event. Persons operating without a license will be assessed a late fee if a license is eventually issued.
Once a temporary food license application has been completed and submitted to the health department with the appropriate fee, a set of guidelines for operating a temporary food service establishment is given to each applicant. When necessary the health department will visit and inspect the site on the first day before the food will actually be prepared.  If all applicable standards are met, the health department sanitarian will sign the license authorizing the preparation and serving of food to the public.  A temporary food service license can be valid for up to fourteen (14) consecutive days at one location. The temporary food Service License must be conspicuously displayed.
Types of Events Requiring Licensing
Examples of events that will require a temporary food service license include: food booths or stands at festivals, craft shows, rallies, or sporting events; and fund raisers for persons, organizations or political offices.  A food service license is required even if the organization is nonprofit and the food is provided free of charge.  If you or your organization is planning an event where food is to be served or prepared for public consumption, please contact the health department nearest you to determine if Michigan law requires a food service license for your individual event.
Low Risk Temporary Food Licensing
The Michigan Food Law, Act 92, of 2000, has been amended by Act 142 of the Public Acts of 2015, effective January 11, 2016, to allow temporary food service licenses to be issued without a required on-site inspection for facilities serving only “low risk” foods.  An office consultation would be utilized in lieu of conducting an on-site licensing inspection.
Low-Risk food means any of the following:
  1. Raw or pre-packaged food that is not potentially hazardous food.
  2. Potentially hazardous food that is prepared in a licensed facility and is not prepared on-site.
  3. Commercially processed potentially hazardous food that is fully cooked and heated only for hot holding.
Low-Risk foods may include, but are not limited to, food items such as cooked pizza; pre-cooked hot dogs, sausage or hamburgers; snow cones; hand dipped ice cream; popcorn; kettle corn; nuts; cotton candy; beverages; and nachos.
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