Locations where food is prepared on site for the public must be licensed. The Food Law defines a temporary food establishment as a food establishment which operates at a fixed location for a temporary period not to exceed 14 consecutive days. If your type of event is listed below, you will need to get a license even if you do not charge for the food. Here are some examples of individuals or groups that require a temporary food license:

  • A business preparing food for a customer appreciation food giveaway, grand opening celebration or other gathering.

  • Events sponsored by a church for the congregation as a whole are considered licensable since any guests or visitors who are not members of the church can typically attend.

  • Events sponsored by a church or nonprofit organization inviting the general public.

  • A church, nonprofit organization, or individual acting as a caterer prepares food for a wedding, funeral, or other gathering

  • A church, nonprofit organization or individual prepares food for groups such as the elderly, indigent, homeless, etc.

  • A person who caters food and is not currently licensed or a licensed caterer that prepares food at a temporary serving location.


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The Food Law provides for temporary licenses to be issued when food safety standards have been met. There are very few exceptions to licensing requirements. Contact your local health department environmental health division to discuss licensing. The Food Law also requires license applications to be submitted at least 4 working days in advance or the license fee is doubled. An approved temporary food operation must display their license showing the name of the operator, inspection results and dates of operation. A license has not been issued until an inspection has been conducted on the day of the event and the operation is approved. Below are temporary food event applications which have been received and will be inspected prior to operation*.

 *Operators must apply for a license well in advance to assure listing on this site.  A food operation 

    not listed may still be inspected and approved.  Only current and upcoming events are displayed.

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(989) 773-5921

The mission of the Central Michigan District Health Department is to promote health & physical well-being by providing preventive health care, education, & environmental safety to all members of the community.

The vision of the Central Michigan District Health Department is to become recognized by the public as the local advocate in promoting, assessing and safeguarding public health and the environment.

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