Dishing Up Food Permits

This time of year there are a lot of fairs and special events that offer food. Fundraisers, promotional events and other functions occur frequently in and around Great Falls during the summer months. In order to make sure this food is safe, state law and city ordinances require vendors who sell food, even at temporary events, to get a food license or short term food permit.

One of the first steps a vendor must take in planning their event is to visit with the Environmental Health staff at the City-County Health Department. During this visit, the proposed menu items will be reviewed to determine the safe food handling and serving practices that need to be followed to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses. Environmental Health Manager Sandy Johnson says, “We want to make sure that people in charge of these food booths are provided with some basic food safety information ahead of time.”

Food borne illnesses are often the result of poor refrigeration, incomplete cooking or poor food handling practices. Food borne illnesses can cause everything from short term “stomach bugs” to more serious cases of Salmonella or E.coli. By taking a few minutes with the Environmental Health staff, you can help ensure a safe, healthy and successful event.

If you are a consumer enjoying a summer event, be sure to look for the food permit that shows you the vendor has been instructed on how to keep you safe from food borne illness.

For more information on food safety and permits, visit the Environmental Health page on CCHD’s website or call 454-6950.