The following procedures and guidelines will apply for all retail food operations held at temporary special events in Larimer County.  Special events or temporary events are single organized community events or celebrations that operate for a period of not more than 14 consecutive days. They may include community farmers’ markets, town celebrations, fairs, and festivals.  Temporary special events do not include regularly scheduled events at venues such as sporting arenas, concert settings, flea markets, or sporadic promotional events such as grand openings or events serviced by licensed caterers. 

Effective January 1, 2022, some regularly scheduled events will be eligible for temporary event licensing. To be considered a temporary event, an Event Coordinator Application must be submitted and approved.

Procedures and Guidelines

  • All food vendors must operate in compliance with the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations. Vendors must hold a current Retail Food Establishment License issued by Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. Licensed mobile food trucks/trailers or carts that hold a valid Colorado Retail Food Establishment License wanting to operate at temporary special events may do so provided they operate under the conditions outlined in the Rules and Regulations and operate within the conditions of approval at the time the establishment was originally licensed. Non-profit organizations based in Larimer County are exempt from licensing requirements.
  • A Vendor Application for Temporary Food Events must be completed by prospective food vendors. Vendors wanting to operate multiple booths or points of sale must complete an application for each. Vendor applications must be submitted to Larimer County Department of Health and Environment with the required license fee(s) 14 days prior to the event. 
  • Vendors operating at events that are more than 1 day in duration must operate from an approved commissary that is within 60 minutes or 60 miles of the event. Vendors must provide a written commissary agreement with their vendor application. Vendors with limited menus operating from licensed self-contained mobile units may be allowed to operate without a commissary.
  • Preparation of food at the event site is to be limited to the service of pre-prepared foods, simple assembly of prepared foods or cook and serve only. Advanced, multi step food preparation that includes cooking and cooling or complex assembly, must be conducted in a commissary kitchen. Produce used at the event site must be pre-washed in the commissary kitchen. Washed produce must be placed into clean food grade containers. Storage of washed produce, such as lemons, potatoes or apples, in cardboard boxes is not allowed. Except for a single cut or slice to pre-washed potatoes, lemons, limes, oranges and apples, all slicing and chopping must be done at the commissary kitchen. Service of food prepared, cooked or stored at home is prohibited.
  • Foods requiring temperature control must be maintained below 41°F or above 135°F. Foods must be transported to the event below 41°F or above 135°F. Foods are not to be left out at room temperature even if frozen. Equipment capable of holding food at safe temperatures, and in sufficient numbers, must be provided. A system for hot holding of items, such as a double boiler, must be provided for food that will be cooked on site even if the intent is to cook per order. No cooling of hot foods is to be conducted on site. Hot food leftover at the end of the business day is to be discarded. Use of Sterno for hot holding, and Styrofoam coolers is not allowed.
  • A food thermometer must be provided. A simple digital food thermometer with a range of at least 0°F to 220°F should be used.
  • Bare hand contact with ready to eat foods is prohibited. Food handlers must use utensils, deli papers or clean food handlers' gloves. Food handlers' glove must be provided on site, but should only be used when tongs, scoops, other utensils and deli papers cannot be used. It is recommended to not wear gloves when handling raw meats and poultry. The use of gloves does not replace the need for hand washing.
  • To allow workers to wash their hands, a hand washing station must be provided within the food booth. 
    • Vendors with full service operations that conduct cooking including, grilling, frying and baking, or reheat unpackaged foods for hot holding or for immediate service, or assemble orders such as making wraps, sandwiches, tacos burritos or prepare and serve items that include fresh squeezed or blended drinks must have a hand washing station with at least a 5 gallon water capacity, supplied with both hot and cold running water dispensed through a combination faucet and basin that drains into a covered waste water collection holding container.  Hand soap and dispensed hand towels.  
    • Vendors with minor operations that serve premade baked goods, ice cream, popsicles, cotton candy, popcorn, kettle corn, roasted nuts, snow cones, or shaved ice must have a hand washing station that consist of a covered container filled with warm water, at least 5 gallons in size, fitted with a spout or spigot capable of providing 'hands-free' continuous flowing water, a covered 5 gallon catch bucket for the collection of hand washing waste water, hand soap and dispensed hand towels. Containers with push button type spigots are not allowed to be used as the water container for the hand washing station. 
    • Use of hand sanitizers is not a replacement for required hand washing.
  • Extra utensils such as tongs, spoons, knives, and cutting boards must be provided so soiled items can be changed out every 4 hours. All soiled utensils and equipment must be washed and sanitized at the end of the business day at the commissary kitchen. On-site ware washing in tubs, dish pans or buckets is not allowed.
  • Provide adequate work space, surfaces and tables for needed food preparation, assembly and to efficiently locate equipment needed for cooking, hot holding, beverage dispensing, taking and putting out food orders.
  • Foods, utensils, equipment and single-use items must be protected from weather, dust, dirt, insects and customer contamination. Store items off the ground. Keep foods covered during storage and during slow periods. Food preparation and assembly areas within the food booth and grills need to be protected from customer contact and contamination using distance to provide separation, shields or barriers. All foods, utensils and paper goods must be transported in clean, covered containers. Use coolers equipped with drains so packaged food and beverages can be stored in drained ice.
  • Wet cloths used to wipe down work surfaces and equipment must be kept in sanitizing solutions. Sanitizer solutions must have chlorine residual of 50-100 ppm (approximately 1 teaspoon of non-scented bleach per gallon of water) or 200 ppm quaternary ammonia. A test kit for checking sanitizing concentrations needs to be provided. Sanitizing solutions should be changed as needed, but at least every 3 hours. 
  • Eating, drinking and smoking are prohibited within the food booth. Staff must leave the booth for these activities and wash hands upon returning to work. Staff with long hair need to tie their hair back, wear a hat or have other appropriately hear restraints.
  • Enough water must be provided for food preparation, to fill and refill hand washing stations and sanitizer buckets. Check with the event coordinator to see if potable water is available, if not vendors will need to bring extra water.
  • All liquid waste from cooking processes, hand washing, and sanitizer buckets must be collected and disposed of in a sanitary sewer. Check with the event coordinator to see if a waste water disposal station is available, if not vendors need to take waste water back to the commissary kitchen for disposal. Waste water is not to be dumped onto the ground or into storm water drains.
  • Clean trash receptacles lined with trash bags must be provided in the food booth.
  • Screening or other provisions, such as floor covering may be required depending on the event location, time of year, weather and other conditions.
  • Pet animals are not allowed inside the food booth.
  • Vendors with full service operations that conduct cooking including, grilling, frying and baking, or reheat unpackaged foods for hot holding or for immediate service, or assemble orders such as making wraps, sandwiches, tacos, burritos must hold a current food safety managers certification.  A copy of the certification must be on site.
Additional Resources

If you have any questions concerning these requirements, please contact the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment for assistance.