Charles County

Temporary Events


Beginning on July 1, 2024, a $300.00 late submission administrative fee will be applied to all temporary food service establishment applications submitted less than 10 days prior to the event start date. The application, all required information, and the application fee must be included in the submittal (e.g., menu, approved food source, approved ice source, workers compensation insurance information, layout of the temporary food booth/area/unit, associated fee, etc.).  In order to avoid the administrative late fee, all applications must be received by the Department complete and with all associated supporting documentation and fees.  Failure to submit all of the required information 10 days prior to the event start date will incur the late fee.


Applications should be submitted a minimum of 14 days prior to the event. This allows time for the Health Department staff to adequately review the application and to make any changes necessary well in advance of the event. Applications received after 10 days are not guaranteed a permit. Incomplete applications will be returned.

Applications may be submitted in person or by mail to:

Charles County Department of Health
4545 Crain Highway
White Plains, MD 20695

OR applications may be submitted via email to:

The Environmental Health Services Food Program is located in the 2-story Annex building in the same parking lot as the main building.

Applications submitted in person or by mail should be accompanied by the associated fee. The following payment methods are acceptable: cash, check and credit card with the exception of American Express. Checks should be made payable to: Charles County Department of Health or CCHD.

Applications submitted via email must be paid by credit card with the exception of American Express. Once the completed application is received, a reply email will be sent with the cashier’s contact information.

If you are submitting your application as an excluded organization, a copy of the 501c(3) or equivalent from the IRS must also be submitted.

If the event coordinator changes the date(s) of the event, the paid fee may be used for the new date(s). If the event coordinator cancels the event, you may receive a refund of the associated fee. If you choose not to operate at an event for any reason, a refund may not be issued.

All food and beverage must be prepared on-site or in a licensed commercial kitchen. If prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen, you must provide a copy of the license and an acknowledgement from the license holder approving the use of the kitchen.

This information has been developed to help concessionaires set up and run food operations in a sanitary and healthful manner and to minimize the possibility of food borne illness.

Concessionaires should contact the Health Department as early as possible when planning a food booth.

A health specialist will be pleased to help with your plans. He/she will point out the steps that must be taken to help ensure a sanitary operation that will protect the public from food borne illness.

Please review the checklist available online to assist you in planning your food service operations.

I. Definition

A Temporary Food Service Establishment is a food establishment that operates at a fixed location for a period of time not more than 30 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration, such as:

II. Licensure Requirements

A. Temporary Licensure if required by Law. The State food regulation C.O.M.A.R. 10.15.03 states that “No person shall operate a food service establishment who does not have a valid license issued to him/her by the health officer”. A valid license shall be conspicuously posted in every food service establishment, mobile unit, and temporary food service establishment.

B. Individuals or groups planning to hold events that are open to the public must have a license. Our department requires that a temporary food license be purchased for each food booth in operation during an event. If you advertise your event with flyers, banners, newspaper articles, social media or by other means, it is considered a public event. Church dinners or other events that are for members and their guests only and are not advertised are not considered to be public events.

III. Application and Review

Individuals must apply for a license in order for the Health Department to review the proposed food service operation. The Health Department’s Environmental Health Specialist will work with you to review the following steps:

He/she may also suggest techniques that will enable your booth to operate more efficiently and safely.

Applications may be obtained from the Charles County Environmental Health Department, located at 4545 Crain Highway, White Plains, Maryland, by mail at P.O. Box 1050, White Plains, Maryland 20695 by calling 301-609-6751, or via the department’s website. Office hours are weekdays from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

IV. Minimum Requirements to Operate

A. Fill out a temporary application, and submit it with the fees at least 2 weeks before the event. Applications must be received by the department a minimum of 10 days prior to the event in order to be processed. All fields on the application must be completed to include the menu, approved food source(s) (where the food products are purchased) and the layout (diagram (photos are not acceptable)) of the food booth/area/unit.
B. Temporary food facility operators may be required to make an appointment for a pre-opening inspection prior to the first day of the event.
C. All food preparation and utensil washing areas shall have effective and approved control measures to eliminate the presence of rodents, flies, birds, roaches, and other vermin on the premises (i.e. screening, effective air curtains/fans, tarps, etc.)
D. All foods / single service items / equipment – utensils, must be protected from contamination at all times. Store all items a minimum of 6 inches off the “floor” and in “containers” that protect.
E. Scoops must be provided for dispensing ice. Utensils must be provided to minimize food handling.
F. A metal-stem thermometer must be available and used to check internal food temperatures; thermometers must be able to measure from 0 degrees to 165 degrees F.
G. Hand washing facilities – The facility shall consist of at least warm running water, soap, individual paper towels, and a catch basin to collect the dirty water. For example, an air pump thermos or a thermal insulated container of warm water with a flip spout will be an acceptable method used to obtain warm running water.
H. All personnel must wear clean clothing, hair restraint and wash hands frequently.
I. Wiping cloths – A separate labeled bucket of sanitizer must be present for rinsing/storing wiping cloths to be used on table tops, counters, and so forth. For example, one capful of liquid bleach added to one gallon of cool water will be acceptable. This should be changed frequently during the day to ensure sanitizer potency.
J. Dishwashing facilities – Equipment and utensils must be washed in three compartments/sinks. The process includes washing the utensils/equipment in hot soapy water, rinsing in hot water, sanitizing, and air drying. Sanitizing test strips must be available.
K. All food preparation must be done in the booth or in an approved “kitchen” facility [e.g., the “kitchen” is permitted by the Health Department] to minimize the potential for food borne illness. Food and beverages prepared or stored in a residential kitchen are not permitted. Food must not be adulterated, spoiled, or contaminated.
L. Smoking, eating, or drinking in booths while working is not allowed. All non-working, unauthorized persons are to be kept out of the booth.
M. Crock pots, steam tables, or other hot holding devices are not to be used for heating foods; they are to be used only for hot holding purposes at a temperature of 135°F. Reheated foods should reach 165°F for 15 seconds within 2 hours.
N. No person who is infected with a communicable disease, such as a cold, flu, or who has open sores or infected cuts on his/her hands, shall work in any temporary food establishment.
O. Chemicals such as liquid bleach and detergents must be stored in a separate area away from food preparation and display areas.
P. Toilet facilities shall be located within a reasonable distance and accessible during all hours of operation.
Q. An adequate number of refuse containers with tight-fitting lids should be available for the garbage.
R. Provide adequate waste disposal for hand wash, utensil wash and other sewage water. It must be discharged to a sanitary sewer.
S. Adequate ventilation must be provided for cooking.
T. All items must be stored off of the floor / ground a minimum of 6 inches and at least high enough to avoid contamination from the ground / elements. Wooden pallets as well as plastic -milk / soda crates / containers are not approved. Cleanable tables, dunnage racks, sealed pre-approved wood shelving etc. are examples of approved methods for compliance.
U. Temporary food establishments must be located on surfaces that are not subject to wet conditions. Asphalt, concrete, plywood, or other similar cleanable materials in good repair are acceptable. If the establishment is set up on grass, sawdust, or dirt, provisions for covering the ground include the use of rubber mats, tarps, or indoor/outdoor carpeting.
V. Water and ice must be from safe and approved potable sources.
W. Temperature control-proper cold storage of foods.
1. All potentially hazardous foods must be stored below 41°F except during necessary preparation or procedures.
2. All potentially hazardous foods such as salads prepared from eggs, meat, potatoes, or pasta must be prepared using pre-chilled ingredients (chilled to at least 41°F).
4. Enough cold holding equipment must be present, properly designed, maintained, and operated so that all potentially hazardous foods can be stored at or below 41°F as required. Separate containers must be used for raw meats and ready to eat foods when ice is used as a refrigerant.
X. Temperature control, proper hot holding of potentially hazardous foods.
1. Potentially hazardous foods stored hot must be kept at 135° F or above during hot holding.
2. Enough hot holding equipment must be present, properly designed, maintained, and operated to keep hot foods at required temperatures.
3. Foods stored in containers on ice must be stored at 41° F or below. Foods must be stored so that the ice level on the outside of the container is as high as the food is on the inside of the container. Containers must be self-draining if ice is used as a refrigerant.