"The Michigan Food Law of 2000 requires any person operating a food establishment, either permanent or temporary, to obtain a license to do so. The health department environmental health division conducts inspections and issues temporary food licenses to vendors who provide food at festivals, shows, or other seasonal events. This is so the public can have confidence they are consuming food and drinks that are safe and will not cause serious illness," said Scott Kendzierski, Director of Environmental Health for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. Food service establishments that are currently licensed are reminded that their license does not allow for food preparation away from the licensed facility location and a temporary license may be required. Inspections include a review of employee hygiene, including hand washing procedures, food preparation and cooking temperatures, food sources, food and utensil storage and handling, cleaning and sanitizing, and water supply and wastewater disposal, as well as requirements for the physical serving area.
"We take our role to assure food safety very seriously," Kendzierski said. "During the summer months, with so many events and festivals, it can be a challenge, especially since many staff at temporary food events are not professional food workers. Our goal is to prevent food borne illness outbreaks with a few common sense rules."
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information regarding temporary food licenses, call your local health department office.