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CHATHAM COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
TEMPORARY FOOD SERVICE PERMIT
What type of events require a Temporary Food Service Permit?
Events are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but generally speaking, temporary food service permits are required for events at which vendors serve food to the public, such as a fair or festival.
If a vendor has a regular Food Service Permit, is a Temporary Food Service Permit required?
Yes, if the vendor is serving food outside of the location approved for its regular Food Service Permit.
What type of events do not require a Temporary Food Service Permit?
– Catered events at which the vendor (caterer, hotel, etc.) holds a regular Food Service Permit from the Chatham County Health Department.
– Private events (such as weddings, birthday parties, etc.)
– Events at which vendors are solely serving prepackaged items, such as chips, candy, etc.
Are caterers required to have a Temporary Food Service Permit, since they serve food in various locations?
No, as long as they are acting underneath the scope of their Food Service Permit.
How can I determine if a vendor has the required Food Service Permit?
There are three ways to determine if a caterer has a valid food service permit:
- Call Chatham County Health Department’s Environmental Health office at 356-2160.
- Visit gachd.org. On the Home page, under Quick Links, click on the Restaurant Inspections link. Choose the county in which the caterer is based and follow the instructions from there to review the most recent inspections for the facility/caterer.
- Ask the proposed caterer for a copy of their permit and inspection report.
What does a Temporary Food Service Permit allow?
With a temporary permit, a vendor can operate from that single approved location for the duration of the specified event only. The specified event can last no longer than 14 consecutive days.
What are the requirements for obtaining a Temporary Food Service Permit?
The organizer for the event must submit an organizer application, along with a listing of the proposed vendors for the event at least 30 days prior to the event date. Each proposed vendor must submit a vendor application at least two weeks prior to the event date, at which time the application will be reviewed. Inspections are conducted prior to the start of the event on the day of the event. Permit approval is contingent upon the inspection.
What are the consequences of not having a Temporary Food Service Permit?
Vendors who fail to obtain a Temporary Food Service Permit and vendors who do not pass inspection are not permitted to serve food during the proposed event. After conducting the inspections, the inspector will discuss the permitting status with the event organizer. It is the responsibility of the event organizer to ensure that all unpermitted vendors leave the event site. Approved vendors will be issued an operational permit and an inspection report, both of which must be displayed in public view. Unpermitted, temporary establishments can be cited and legal action pursued.
Can I take food home from an event?
Food can be taken home from an event for personal use, but not for re-service to the public.
For questions or more information, call 356-2160.
Find the vendor application and organizer application here:
Special thanks to Chatham County Health Department for providing this information. The Savannah Event Network is designed to be a resource for event planning and this material is intended to be used for reference purposes only. Use of this information does not guarantee permit approval, which is at the sole discretion of the Chatham County Health Department. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure updates to this information; however, it is recommended that you independently confirm permit details with the Chatham County Health Department, as the process and requirements are subject to change.