Fairs, Festivals & Events

Temporary Food Establishment (TFE) Resources

Who needs a permit? Vendors preparing and selling food and drink items at an event are typically required to obtain a Temporary Food Establishment (TFE) permit from the local health department. Vendors who meet certain exemptions (PDF) or who serve only non-potentially hazardous beverages and/or items such as dip ice cream, popcorn, candied apples, cotton candy and Italian ice are not required to obtain a TFE permit. TFE food vendors must be affiliated with and endorsed by a transitory fair, carnival, circus, festival, public exhibition, or agritourism business. Domestic yard sales and businesses such as auctions and flea markets are not eligible for a TFE permit.

Food Safety and Set-Up Requirements

Preparing and serving food in an outdoor environment can be challenging. In addition to safe food handling, it is important that the set-up include protection against the weather, pests and even other people attending the event. Prior to permitting, an evaluation of the set-up will be made by an Environmental Health Specialist and a permit will be issued if all applicable requirements are in place. TFE permits expire at the end of the event and must be kept posted in a conspicuous place designated by the EHS throughout the event. See the TFE Vendor Information Packet for set-up and permitting requirements.

Pre-event Food Preparation

TFE food vendors may not prepare (wash, cut, chop, cook, cool, etc.) food at another location prior to an event unless it is done in a pre-approved, permitted food service establishment or a permitted TFE Commissary. The TFE Commissary must comply with all TFE requirements but food may not be sold from this location. The TFE Commissary permit is valid up to 21 consecutive days and the commissary must be permitted no more than 7 days prior to commencement of the event. Pre-approved reciprocity is required for any food preparation done in a neighboring state prior to an event in NC.

Please Note

TFE vendor applications must be submitted at least 15 days prior to the event. Event coordinators must also submit an application that provides food vendor and site specific amenity information. Please contact our office at 910-253-2150 if you plan hold an event with food vendors or plan to sell food at an upcoming event in Brunswick County and have questions or need any additional assistance with these requirements.