Caterer / Host / Temporary Food Service Operation (TFSO)

Caterer / Host

AB 2524 became effective January 2019 as part of the California Retail Food Code (CRFC) and allows for Catering Operations and Host Facilities to obtain permits to operate from the local jurisdictions once requirements are met. Assembly Bill No. 2524

Caterer Application Form
Host Facility Check List Form

A food service operation conducted at a permanent permitted food facility (ex. restaurant, commercial kitchen) approved for food preparation where the food is to be served at a location other that its permitted location, whether as part of a contracted offsite food service event (ex. wedding, family reunion, private party) or when operating in conjunction with a host facility for direct food sales.
Catering operation shall not include either of the following:
(1) Food ordered as take-out or delivery from a food facility, where the food is provided to the consumer for self-service.
(2) A food facility that is participating as part of a community event.

Host Facility means a facility located in a brewery, winery, commercial building, or another location as approved by the local enforcement agency, that meets applicable requirements to support a permitted catering operation that provides food directly to individual consumers for a limited period of time, up to four(4) hours, in any one twelve-(12) hour period.

All requirements are included in the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health Caterer Application form

General requirements include:

  • Operating at a permitted Host Facility
  • Maintaining safe food temperatures during transport and food service.
  • Accessing approved hand wash facilities in the food preparation area.
  • Conducting only ‘Limited Food Preparation’ as defined by CRFC at the Host Facility.
  • Having a Person-In-Charge (PIC) on-site during all operating hours of the event to fulfill duties specified in CRFC.
  • Limiting food service to four hours in a 12-hour period.
  • Maintaining equipment and utensils clean and sanitized during the operation.
  • Returning to the permitted food facility for food storage; food preparation; cleaning/sanitizing and storage of equipment and utensils.
The Person In Charge (PIC) on behalf of the Catering Operation shall be onsite during operating hours and ensure each of the following:
  • Protection of the food from contamination during service
  • Food preparation areas have overhead protection
  • Provide utensils for single use to eliminate re-use of a soiled/contaminated utensil
  • Ensure consumers obtain clean plates or utensils when returning to the selfservice food display
  • Replace utensils that become contaminated with clean and sanitized utensils
  • Discard any potentially hazardous foods not consumed or sold that were subject to temperature abuse
  • Discard any food that has become contaminated or is suspected of being contaminated
  • Have adequate knowledge of major food allergens, food identified as major food allergens, and the symptoms that a major food allergen could cause in a sensitive individual who has an allergic reaction
  • Ensure that all food handlers are in good health and free of any gastrointestinal symptoms or illness
  • To self-close a food service operation for any imminent health hazard including but not limited to: lack of potable water, lack of hot water, lack of electricity, sewage overflow, vermin infestation or other conditions that could lead to illness, injury or death
  • To accompany an inspection performed by an enforcement officer during normal operating hours
  • To address any violations resulting in imminent health hazards that may result in immediate closure of the operation

All requirements are included in the Alameda County Department of Environmental
Health Host Facility Checklist.

General requirements include:

  • potable water supply
  • toilets and hand wash facilities with warm water, soap and towel dispensers
  • a janitorial sink, proper refuse storage and disposal,
  • a suitable location for a catering operation
  • an operational plan with record keeping of Catering Operations
  • a permit to operate

Complete and submit a Caterer Application form and all required supporting documents for review and approval.

Complete the Caterer Application form, submit the required supporting documents.
Pay an application fee. Once the application is reviewed and the procedures, equipment and menu are approved then an inspection of the commercial kitchen may be scheduled. Once approved, an Alameda County Department of Environmental Health Permit Application form is completed and signed, an annual permit fee must be paid, and a permit will be issued.

Complete the Host Facility Checklist, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and a completed Alameda County Department of Environmental Health Application form with an application fee. Once the Host Checklist is reviewed and SOPs approved then a site inspection will be schedule with the applicant. Approval is granted after all operational and structural corrections are made. An annual permit fee must be paid, and a permit issued. In some cases, structural plans may be required for review and approval.

A Catering Operation can deliver food prepared in a permitted fixed food facility (commercial kitchen) however the delivery must be directly to the consumers. A Catering Operation cannot deliver from a Host Facility or via a third-party delivery service.
The California Retail Food Code Section 113818 definition is:
“Limited food preparation” means food preparation that is restricted to one or more of the following:

  • Heating, frying, baking, roasting, popping, shaving of ice, blending, steaming or boiling of hot dogs, or assembly of non-prepackaged food.
  • Dispensing and portioning of non-potentially hazardous food.
  • Holding, portioning, and dispensing of any foods that are prepared for satellite food service by the onsite permanent food facility or prepackaged by another approved source.
  • Holding, portioning, and dispensing of any foods that are prepared by a catering operation for a host facility.
  • Slicing and chopping of food on a heated cooking surface during the cooking process.
  • Cooking and seasoning to order.
  • Juicing or preparing beverages that are for immediate service, in response to an individual consumer order, that do not contain frozen milk products.
“Limited food preparation” does not include any of the following:

  • Slicing and chopping unless it is on the heated cooking surface.
  • Thawing.
  • Cooling of cooked, potentially hazardous food.
  • Grinding raw ingredients or potentially hazardous food.
  • Reheating of potentially hazardous foods for hot holding, except for steamed or boiled hot dogs and tamales in the original, inedible wrapper.
  • Except as authorized in bullet point three (3) above, hot holding of nonprepackaged, potentially hazardous food, except for roasting corn on the cob, steamed or boiled hot dogs, and tamales in the original, inedible wrapper
  • Washing of foods.
  • Cooking of potentially hazardous foods for later use.
  • Handling, manufacturing, freezing, processing, or packaging of milk, milk products, or products resembling milk products subject to licensing under Division 15 (commencing with Section 32501) of the Food and Agricultural Code.

The annual fee for a Catering Operation is currently $555.00 with a one-time application fee of $207.00. Fees listed are for 2019. Please see the current Fee Schedule.

The annual fee for a Host Facility permit is currently $408.00 with a one-time application fee of $207.00. Fees listed are for 2019. Please see the current Fee Schedule.

Fee for a minor plan check is currently $514. Fees listed are for 2019. Please see the current Fee Schedule.

Temporary Food Service Operation (TFSO)

A Temporary Food Service Operation (TFSO) is a food service operation which is registered with the local Environmental Health Department operating within a permitted food facility for a temporary period.  A TFSO is an opportunity for those without their own retail food facility to gain culinary experience, to test production of menu items after approval of the hosting permitted food facility, review of the proposed menu and operation plan.
TFSO Registration Form

A food service operation registered with the local environmental health department operating within a permitted food facility for a temporary period.
Industry looks at the TFSO as an opportunity for those without permitted food facilities to gain retail culinary experience and test production of menu items. Many others view and support TFSO as an economic opportunity.
A TFSO is a retail food service operation that must operate within a permitted food facility. A TFF is a permitted food facility that can only work in conjunction with a community event (i.e. street fairs, Certified Farmers Markets)
AB 2524 is effective January 01, 2019 and clarifications in Cal Code provide local jurisdictions the flexibility needed to ensure food safety for TFSO proposals.
The permit holder of a food facility must acknowledge in writing intent to accept responsibility for a TSFO. The permitted food facility must have the existing infrastructure to support a temporary foodservice operation and its proposed menu.
The TFSO will operate within a permitted food facility, therefore a registration for the operation will be issued after all requirements have been met and appropriate fees paid.
The expectation is for the protection of public health at all times by conducting all food service activities using safe food handling and personal hygiene practices. By Law, the permit holder is responsible for all operations and activities within the permitted facility. (Section 113853)

The TFSO Registration application process includes:

  • Completed and signed “Registration for a TFSO” application form. Facility name, address, phone number and regular days and hours of operation. Permit Holder name, phone number, and alternate contact information. Proposed TFSO Operator name and contact information (website, phone number and email). Proposed frequency (dates/times) and duration of TFSO events.  Form must be signed by both permit holder and the TFSO registrant.
  • Operational plan that includes menu, equipment to be used (existing), storage of food and supplies (dry & refrigerated), methods of food handling and preparation, proof of food manager certification and food handler cards for TFSO staff. In addition, the plan must provide the procedures, methods and schedule for cleaning of utensils, equipment and proper disposal of waste. 
  • Proposed dates and times to operate as a TFSO within the permitted food facility
TFSO can prepare and serve foods approved by the local environmental health agency. No raw milk or raw milk products or any foods that require a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Plan (HACCP Plan) will be approved.
If the permitted facility meets all the requirements for an open-air barbecue the TFSO can be approved to use the barbeque unit in the same approved manner. (Section 113843)
Environmental Health investigations will be conducted on each complaint received.

No. All foods must be prepared in the permitted facility.

No. Only the permitted operator with the valid ABC license can conduct alcoholic beverage sales.
For up to one year if the operational plan is followed and the permitted facility continues to comply with Cal Code requirements.

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