Health Department

 

Chauncy Williams, R.E.H.S./R.S - Director 

Department of Health Services

Email 

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 220
Ennis, TX 75120

Physical Address:
105 S. Preston Street

Ennis, TX 75119

Ph: (972) 875-6442
Fx: (972) 875-8540

healthdept@ennistx.gov

Temporary Event FAQ

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Temporary Event Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a permit to sell food at a temporary event?

Yes, a permit is always required to sell food or open drinks to the public

How do I get a permit?

Contact City of Ennis Department of Health Services between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at 972.875.1234 or you may visit us at 500 Lake Bardwell Drive Ennis, Texas 75119. You may also report concerns or question by clicking here. You can also download and complete the Applications Form, please click here

You must pay your appropriate fees of $50 for a standard Temporary Food Establishment permit or a Farmers Market Temporary Food Establishment permit. 

  1. Get permission from sponsor to participate 
  2. Complete and submit an application to the Department along with the appropriate fee 
  3. The application will be reviewed and if the reviewer is satisfied that all is in order a permit will be sent to you or delivered during the event. 
  4. Provide a copy of your State sales tax I.D. 
  5. For fee exemption, include a copy of your 501(c)(3) letter stating that your organization is tax exempt. 

 

What conditions are attached to the permit?

In order to qualify for a permit, the applicant must agree to operate in accordance with all applicable state and local laws and such inspectional procedures as are needed to ensure compliance.

The booth must be equipped with facilities for washing hands, and for washing, rinsing and sanitizing utensils and equipment to keep potentially hazardous foods at a safe temperature. The full list of conditions can be read in our Temporary Food Establishment Guidelines.

My food is prepackaged; do I still need a permit?

Yes, an application for a permit must be submitted and a permit is required if the prepackaged food requires being controlled by temperature (refrigeration or heating).  No, a permit is not required for certain prepackaged food that do not require being controlled by temperature; however, contact the Department for clarification of the types requiring a permit. Food sampling requires a permit.  Hand washing and utensil washing facilities are not required for prepackaged food, unless you intend to open the packages (i.e., to give samples). Then the requirements are the same as for any other booth with open food.

I am only selling prepackaged drinks; do I still need a permit?

Yes, a permit is still required if the prepackaged drinks requires being controlled by temperature (refrigeration or heating).  No, a permit is not required if the prepackaged drinks does not require being controlled by temperature.  Hand washing and utensil washing facilities are not required for prepackaged drinks, unless you intend to open the container (i.e., to give samples). Then the requirements are the same as for any other booth with open food.

How can I be a vendor at a temporary event?

For any temporary event, whether it is one or several days or a recurring Farmer's Market, you must first get approval from the sponsor. After the event sponsor approves you as a vendor, you are required to submit a complete Temporary Food Establishment permit form to the Department for processing and pay the appropriate fee.

Can I set up a temporary food facility outside a business?

No. The temporary food facility must be in connection with a community event with a sponsor.

My booth is only to raise money for our club; do I still need a permit?

Yes, a permit is usually required for all food vendors.  The potential risk attached to handling and selling food is the same, no matter where the proceeds go.  You must also include a copy of your 501(c)(3) letter stating that your organization is tax exempt. 

What other permits do I need?

You must obtain permission from the event coordinator.  Event sponsors or coordinators must contact the Inspections Department at 972-875-1234 to obtain a permit prior to the event. If you have heating equipment, you must contact the Fire Department at 972-875-1234.

What are the responsibilities of the sponsor (organizer or coordinator) of the event?

The sponsor must ensure that all temporary food facilities comply with the state and local Health and Safety laws, including the possession of a valid health permit by each booth operator. In addition, the sponsor is responsible for shared facilities such as toilets and wastewater, grease and garbage disposal. They should ensure that food booth operators know where to find potable water and ice.

Will an inspector come to check my booth?

An inspector may visit all food booths, usually early in the event, to ensure food is being handled safely. However, booth operators are expected to follow the law at all times.

Will I be fined if I make a mistake at the event?

The inspector will expect corrections to be made on site when necessary, and may close your booth temporarily until he/she considers it safe. If you have gross health violations and your issues cannot be corrected, the inspector may suspend your permit, which means you will have to close down. If necessary, the inspector will request assistance from the Police Department. Potentially hazardous foods (PHFs) with major violations (i.e., out of temperature, poor hygienic/ sanitary practices, etc.) will be discarded.  Inspectors may issue fines; however, fines are a very last resort.

Must all booths be partially enclosed?

The booth must have overhead protection and needs to be protected on all sides if you are handling open food.  Food booths must operate on an improved surfaces (i.e., asphalt, concrete, or plywood) booths may not be located on the ground or grass.   If all food is prepackaged and the packages will be sold unopened, no screening protection or surface improvement are required.

Do I need my own hand-washing facilities - even if I am right next to the public restrooms?

Yes. A hand washing station must be set up with sufficient water available for the duration of the event in each booth where open foods or beverages are handled.  See the following link for information and instructions on how to properly set up your hand washing station: Hand washing station set-up

Can I cook outside the booth?

Yes. BBQ and deep fat frying must be conducted outside the booth, in an area fenced off from the public. All other cooking should be inside the booth.  Always check with the Fire Department if you will be working with open flames. A fire extinguisher is required for any type of cooking or electricity operations within your booth. 

I want to join an event this coming weekend and I live far away. Can I still get a permit?

Yes. Distance from the event is not a problem. Contact the Department of Health Services between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at 972.875.1234 or you may visit us at 500 Lake Bardwell Drive Ennis, Texas 75119.  You can also download and complete the Applications Form, please click here.  We request that you apply more than three working days prior to the event to obtain a permit. 

I want to sell products that I have canned in jars; can I sell the product at events?

No, this requires a State Manufacturer's License. Click here for more information.

What are the requirements to sale food at the Ennis Farmers Market?

Please follow this link to the Farmers Market Guidelines

Do I need a food handlers certificate to sell food at a temporary event?

No, a food handlers certificate is only required for specific vendors at the Ennis Farmers Market. Please click here for Farmers Market Guidelines – Cottage Food Vendors