Passing a Florida Temporary Event Health Inspection

 

So you’ve finally decided to make the BIG BUCKS with your very own food booth at special events.  That’s fantastic!  After all, people have been telling you for years that you should go into business with those recipes of yours.  The first thing you do is spend all night, checking craigslist for used food trailers but you quickly realize that these are way too expensive for you at the moment.  Well, don’t worry.  A food trailer, while ideal, is not necessary as long as you’re willing to take the time to set up and tear down after each event.  Yes, it’s time consuming but you do have to start somewhere and this will make you as much money as any old food truck.

Like any other business, having a food booth at an outdoor event requires an investment.  Because of this investment, you likely won’t see a profit until you have had a least 4 successful events.  So if you’re planning to cook at just one event I think it’s best if you just burned your money right now.  It’s a lot less work that way.  So plan for at least 6-7 events.

One of your biggest challenges your first time out is making sense of the Health Requirements.  At first glance, it looks like you’re going to have to hire the YODA of health inspections to help you make sense of the checklist they provide for you.  Well, don’t fret.  I’m going to take this one by one to help you pass the inspection and be on your way to your culinary future.

 

Water, Plumbing and Waste/Access to a three-compartment sink

No, you don’t need to go out and buy and expensive sink.  This one is quite easy.  All you need is 3 plastic bins and Wha La you have a 3 compartment sink.  At the end of this blog you will see a picture of what I am referring to.

Hand-washing Facility

This is actually the same as the 3 compartment sink.  Use either an igloo water container or purchase a 2 1/2 gallon purified water container with a shut off valve (at any supermarket).  Place the water source on a table and place the plastic bin just below it to catch the water.  Make sure to have hand sanitizer, hand soap and a roll of paper towels next to this.

Overhead protection for all food equipment, food preparation and storage areas

You must cook, prepare and serve under a fire retardant tent.  Below you will find a link where you can purchase such a tent.  Now it is my experience that the code is very vague on whether there should be an open flame (gas cooking and grills) underneath a tent.  The fire marshall who passes by says absolutely not but then the health inspector tells you to cover it.  If you find yourself stuck in this catch 22, just ask them at the same time what you should do.  You’ll find that they will both help you out and come to some sort of an agreement.

Dustless floor grading

That’s a fancy way of saying, lay something down.  I’ve seen people bring plywood but I think that’s heaving and time consuming to lay down.  Some people lay down a plastic carp but I have seen way too many slip and fall accidents with this type of material.  The best flooring is actually roofing felt.  It’s cheap, easy to roll out, disposable and sucks up the grease so it’s not slippery.

Food stored at least 6 inches off floor/ground

Well, Duh!  Most people are smart enough to NOT place food on the ground but this line also applies to drinks (bottles or containers).  This has an easy inexpensive fix.  Use milk crates to keep the coolers and drinks off the ground.  See below for a picture.

Copy of current DBPR public food service license

Since you are being inspected and licensed on the spot, this requirement is waived.  There is nothing you need to do in advance with respect to obtaining a license prior to the event.

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services food service permit

Since you are being inspected and licensed on the spot, this requirement is waived.  There is nothing you need to do in advance with respect to obtaining a license prior to the event.

3 compartment sink

3 compartment sink

6 inches off the ground

6 inches off the ground

floor covered

floor covered

food covered hot hot

food covered hot hot

food covered trash can in the front

wash station

wash station

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply