Dear Special Event Organizer:
Larimer County Department of Health and Environment will once again this year conduct inspections for outdoor events. In years past, the Department has had difficulty in getting vendor worksheets to be submitted in a timely manner so that the sheets could be reviewed before the event. It is important for the Department to review these worksheets so that we can try to eliminate problems before the event takes place. We are asking that the event coordinators collect the completed worksheets from all food vendors and that the coordinator submit the worksheets all together. Be advised, worksheets must be received by our Department at least 10 working days prior to the event. Please be aware that if vendor information is not submitted at least 10 working days prior to the event, the vendor(s) will not be allowed to operate! Please plan ahead and confirm your vendors early.
Fees will be charged to each event promoter or organizer. The fee will be based on actual time spent by Health Department staff to review the overall event, conduct menu reviews, site inspections, or other activities associated with the event. The fee will be calculated at $30.00 per hour and will be due upon completion of the event.
If you are planning an event this year, we urge you to contact the Department as early as possible for assistance in making your plans. By contacting us early on, the time spent on reviews and inspections may be kept to minimum. Also keep in mind, the vendor worksheets are due from the coordinator at least 10 days prior to the event.
Please feel free to contact us in Fort Collins at (970) 498-6775 if you have any questions regarding special events.
Environmental Health Specialists
The following procedures and guidelines will apply for all retail food operations held at special event in Larimer County:
- All food vendors must operate in compliance with the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations. All food vendors must hold a current Colorado Retail Food Establishment License issued by the Health Department for special event operations. This license must be posted at the food booth. Copies of licenses are not approved. Vendors without retail food licenses for special events will not be allowed to operate.
- All foods, including ice, must be prepared in an approved commercial kitchen. All foods must be precut, prepared, and ready for cooking or service when delivered on site. Preparation of food on site other than simple assembly and cooking is prohibited.
Vendors operating at events that are more than 1 day in length must operate from an approved commissary within the area. All vendors must have an approved local commissary or they will not be allowed to operate. Vendors with limited menus operating from fully equipped mobile units may be allowed to operate without a commissary. Contact the Health Department for details.
Events that are three or more days in length have special requirements for food service. Please contact this Health Department concerning requirements for these events.
- Potentially hazardous foods such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, sauces, cooked rice, pasta, potatoes and beans must be maintained at safe temperatures, below 41˚ or above 135˚F, at all times during the event. Foods cannot be out at room temperature even if frozen. Service of food items will not be allowed if foods are not or can not be maintained at proper temperatures, below 41˚ or above 135˚F.
Equipment capable of holding potentially hazardous foods at proper hot and cold temperatures must be provided and used to transport the food to the event site and to hold food at required temperatures at the event site.
A calibrated food thermometer, scaled 0˚F-220˚F, or a thermocouple must be provided and used to verify foods are maintained at required temperatures.
Foods pre-prepared or assembled before the event that are to be held cold must be quickly cooled, from 135˚F to 70˚F within 2 hours and from 70˚F to 41˚F or below within 4 hours, using methods such as ice baths, or in shallow pans that are less than 3" deep while under refrigeration. Cooling of foods at room temperature is prohibited. Attempting to cool hot foods or pre-assembled foods at the event is not allowed.
- A hand washing station must be provided with in each food booth. Service of food items will not be allowed without having a proper hand wash station. The hand washing station is to consist of a covered container filled with warm water, at least 5 gallons in size, fitted with a spout or spigot on the bottom of the container that can be opened with one hand and will remain open while both hands can be put under the stream of water and washed.
- A separate bucket of clean warm water must be provided in the food booth at all times. This container is to be used for the storage of wiping cloths and must have chlorine residual of 50-100 ppm (approximately 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water) or 200 ppm quaternary ammonia. Wiping cloths must be provided and used to wipe down counters and equipment. Approved sanitizer and a sanitizer test kit must be provided in each food booth or service of food will not be allowed.
- All utensils and equipment must be washed, rinsed, and sanitized off site daily in an approved 3-compartment ware washing sink located in the operation's commissary. Extra serving utensils must be provided at the event so soiled utensils can be changed every two or three hours. Be advised on-site ware washing in tubs, dish pans or buckets is not allowed.
- All produce items must be washed at the operation's commissary kitchen in an approved food prep sink, or must be obtained pre-washed (this includes lemons for lemonade, potatoes for fries, and apples for caramel apples). Once washed, produce must be stored and transported in clean food-grade containers or bags. Washing and cutting of produce at the event site is not permitted.
- Only hard sided, smooth, non-absorbent and easily cleanable ice coolers or approved food grade containers may be used for the storage of food, ice or drinks. Styrofoam containers or coolers are not approved for use. All foods, ice, and drink must be kept in covered containers.
- Food, utensils, equipment and single-use items must be protected from dust, dirt, insects, and customers while being sorted, used, displayed, and/or served. All food, paper products and utensils must be stored off the ground and in a protective sleeve or container. Serving trays or plates must be stored inverted. Cardboard containers are not considered adequate protection for products stored on the ground. Unpackaged foods displayed or served from tables accessible to the public must be protected with sneeze guards.
- Serving utensils must be used whenever possible and must be stored in the product with the handle extended out of the food. Direct hand contact of ready-to-eat foods is not allowed. The use of utensils, deli papers, or clean food handlers' gloves is required. The use of gloves does not replace the need for hand washing.
- All foods, utensils and paper goods must be transported in clean covered containers to protect them from contamination.
- Eating, drinking and smoking is prohibited within the food booth. Staff must leave the booth for these activities and wash hands upon return to work.
- Any wastes such as water draining from ice, water from cooking processes, food debris, etc., must be collected and later disposed of in a commercial food establishment or sanitary sewer. Waste water is not to be dumped onto the ground or into storm water drains. A clean trash receptacle must be provided in the food booth.
An Application For Food Vendors Operating At Special Events must be submitted to the Health Department at least 10 days prior to operation. If you have any questions concerning these requirements, please contact the Health Department for assistance at (970) 498-6776 in Fort Collins, or (970) 577-2050 in Estes Park.