As we enter festival season, the Van Wert County Health Department is working to keep the public safe from food-borne illnesses.
The Health Department is active in providing educational resources for those wanting to sell food at the various events in the county.
Food trucks are very popular at local festivals. Ohio requires that every person that intends to prepare or sell food from a movable vehicle, portable structure, or watercraft that routinely changes location must obtain a Mobile Food Service Operation or Retail Food Establishment license.
There is a review process before the granting of a license and there is a fee of $159 annually.
Two different licenses are available through the Van Wert County Health Department for events, a Mobile License, and a Temporary License. A Temporary License is event-based and a Mobile License is a yearly license giving the operator the option of operating wherever in the State of Ohio all year long. The Mobile License has a lot more requirements than a Temporary License such as a three-compartment sink with drainboards on both ends, a hand wash as well as other requirements. A temporary license can allow the vendor to have a portable cooler with a spigot filled with hot water for handwashing.
Operators from other counties can get a Mobile License in their hometown county in Ohio and sell in our county at an event but a license must be available at the event for viewing. Mobile Licenses can be obtained in your home county but those licenses will be able to be used in all of Ohio.
Those applying for the Mobile License need to sub their application at least 10 days before an event and those applying for a Temporary License have to sub an application at least seven days prior to an event.
As a reminder to people who sell food items made at their homes, there are certain rules to follow.
According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, a “Home Bakery” is permitted to make non-potentially hazardous bakery products like cookies, bread, brownies, cakes, and fruit pies and potentially hazardous bakery products like cheesecakes, cream pies, custard pies, and pumpkin pies.
These home-baked goods can be sold from your home or through grocery stores, convenience stores, farm markets, farmers’ markets, and other retail establishments.
All food items must be properly labeled.
A Home Bakery must be licensed and inspected by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Food Safety.
There is an annual fee of $10.
To arrange an inspection contact the ODA Division of Food Safety at 1-800-282-1955 ext. 4366 or email foodsafety@agri.ohio.gov.
If you are involved in a Cottage Food Production Operation a license is not required.
Ohio Revised Code defines Cottage Food Operation as a person who, in the person’s home, produces food items that are not potentially hazardous foods, including bakery products, jams, jellies, candy, fruit, butter, and similar products specified in rules. These foods must be labeled properly or they will be considered misbranded or adulterated.
For more information, contact Kelly Freewalt, Registered Environmental Health Specialist at the Van Wert County Health Department at 419-238-0808 EXT. 108 or you can email her at kdues@vanwertcountyhealth.org. Forms can be obtained by visiting our website vanwertcountyhealth.org.
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