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Frequently Asked Questions

Temporary Food Licensing
  1. If I already have a licensed food establishment (restaurant), do I need a separate license to vend at a temporary event?
    • Yes. If you will be cooking and/or preparing food at the event you will need to have a separate, temporary food license.
  2. Can I cook food at home for a temporary event?
    • No. All food must either be prepared at the event in your licensed temporary food booth or at a licensed commercial kitchen.  (If you have a cottage food business, you can prepare your cottage foods at home without a license.)
  3. What do I need for a set-up at a temp event?  What are the inspectors going to be looking for during the inspection?
    • Our booklet, Food Safety at Temporary Events, is a good source of general information about the types of things that will be needed in a food booth, including a handwashing sink/station and a three-compartment sink. 
Farmer's Market
  1. Do I need a food license to sell at the Farmers Market?
    • It depends on the type of food you will be selling.  If you will be cooking and/or preparing any food at the event, you will most likely need a temporary food license.   However, certain foods are covered under the State of Idaho’s cottage food rules (see next section) and do not require a food license to sell.  You do not need a food license if you are a fixed or mobile retail food establishment engaged in the sale of raw or fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts in the shell.
  2. I want to sell my fruit jam and granola at the Farmers Market. Do I need a food license?
    • Fruit jams and jellies, as well as granola, are considered a cottage food so a food license would not be needed.
  3. Can I sell my home grown eggs at a Farmers Market or to a food establishment (restaurant or grocery store)?
    • Yes, you can sell ungraded home grown eggs at a Farmers Market.  If you have 300 or less hens, you are exempt from the Idaho Deptartment of Agriculture egg inspection regulations.  You can also sell your ungraded eggs to a food establishment if a few requirements are met as explained in the Ungraded Shell Egg Exemption Statement.  Please use this form with any food establishment to which you sell eggs.
  4. Can I sell/sample fresh squeezed orange or apple juice at the farmer’s market?
    • Yes.  A temporary food permit must be obtained and the juice can only be sold directly to the consumer. (Not held longer than 4 hours, and not bottled.)
Catering or Private Parties
  1. For an “invitation only” event where food is served, do I need a food license?
    • Yes. If you are serving food to the public.  You would not need a license if it is a private family event.  Call your local health district office with any specific questions.
  2. Do I need a food license if I just cater to small private parties?
    • Yes
  3. Do I need a food license to cater a wedding?
  4. My office is having a potluck; do we need a license?
    • No.  Potlucks for an office party, church group, etc. do not require a license.
  5. I am a licensed food estaqblishment.  Can I sell/transport food to an adjacent state?
    • You will need to check with that state and see if they require you to license.  Usually, if you are licensed in one state, an adjacent state will allow you to deliver food across state lines.
Mobile Food Trucks
  1. What type of equipment must I have for my new food truck?
  2. If I am buying a food truck that has been or is currently licensed in Idaho, is that license transferable?
    • No. Food licenses are not transferrable. You will need to submit an application and fee, undergo a pre-opening inspection, and obtain the license in your name before you can begin operating.   
  3. I am purchasing a used food truck. What do I need to look for?
    • It should have hot and cold water under pressure at a three compartment sink as well as a hand wash sink.  It should be structurally sound with all surfaces smooth and cleanable.  Read through the Mobile Food Establishment Plan Review Application for more information.
Kitchen/Plan Review
  1. How do I find out what I need to have in a licensed kitchen?
  2. Is there a list of equipment I must have in a food establishment?
    • The type, size, and amount of equipment that will be needed is dependent upon the menu and volume of food that will be served.  In general, equipment shall be designed and constructed to be durable and to retain their characteristic qualities under normal use conditions.
  3. Must my sinks and countertops be stainless steel?
    • No; however they must be smooth, cleanable, and durable.  Stainless is by far the best choice as it holds up the best under heavy use.
  4. Can I purchase used equipment for my food establishment?
    • Used equipment is acceptable as long as it is in clean and in good repair.
  5. What is a plan review and when do I need one?
    • A Food Establishment Plan Review Application is required for any new establishment (including mobile), any existing food establishment that will undergo any kitchen remodel, and any existing mobile food truck that is brought in from another state.
  6. What is a commissary kitchen?
    • A place where food containers or supplies are stored, prepared, or packaged for transit, sale, or service at other locations.
  7. Do I need a grease trap?
    • Most restaurants will need a grease trap (a small box located under the dishwashing sink or dishwasher) or a grease interceptor (a large tank buried outside the building).  Plumbing codes will dictate what is required.  Check with the local plumbing inspector.
Training/Food Code
  1. What training do I need to be a certified food protection manager?
  2. Do I need a “food card” to work in a food establishment? How do I get one?
    • Everyone that works in a food establishment in Idaho does not have to have a “food card”. The requirement is that there is always a person in charge in the establishment, (Idaho Food Code 2-101.11) and he/she must be able to demonstrate knowledge of food safety relative to the operations within the establishment.  (Idaho Food Code 2-102.11). One way of demonstrating that knowledge is by obtaining a “food card" which is a certificate showing completion of the Idaho Food Safety Manual/Exam, or an equivalent course as listed in the left hand column under food safety training on the Idaho Deptartment of Health and Welfare’s Food Protection Program webpage. 
  3. Where do I obtain a copy of the Idaho Food Code?
  4. What are the rules for labeling packaged food?
General Licensing Questions
  1. When do I need a food license?
    • The title, scope, and applicability (who needs a food license) is defined in IDAPA 16.02.19.001, which can also be found on page 9 of the Idaho Food Code. 
  2. What type of food license do I need?
    • The type of license you need is determined by your operation.  There are many types of food licenses.  The most common types are: permanent establishment, like a restaurant or cafeteria; mobile establishment, like a food truck, trailer or cart; and temporary/intermittent establishment, like a booth at a Farmers Market or special event.
  3. Can I run a food business out of my home?
    • Only foods that are covered under the Idaho cottage food guidelines can be made at home.  All other foods must be made and/or prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen.  A home kitchen can never be licensed food establishment
  4. Do I need a license to sell homemade food on Facebook?
    • Only if you operate a cottage food business, can you sell your cottage foods on Facebook or other internet methods. 

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