Seasonal Temporary Food Stand
Food, Pools, and Lodging Services (FPLS)
A seasonal temporary food stand (STF) is a food and beverage service establishment that is disassembled and moved from location to location. The food stand must operate for no more than 21 days annually at any one location unless approved by the by the licensing agency. All food stands must operate in compliance with the Minnesota food code.
For information about the requirements for obtaining a license for a seasonal temporary food stand, see our factsheet:
Plan Review Application
The Mobile Food Unit, Seasonal Temporary Food Stand, and Seasonal Permanent Food Stand Construction Guide provides additional guidance for construction and operation of a STF, including information about equipment; sinks; floor, wall and ceiling finishes; water; sewage; and utilities.
- Mobile Food Unit, Seasonal Temporary Food Stand and Seasonal Permanent Food Stand Construction Guide (PDF: 178KB/15 pages)
Plan Submission and Licensing
Individuals or groups interested in operating a seasonal temporary food stand must submit a plan review application with fees and obtain approval from MDH before beginning construction. In some cases, MDH delegates authority to review and approve plans to local health departments. Both MDH and local contact information is available at:
To allow for a timely review of your project, all information should be included in the plan. Plans may take up to 30 days to review. Incomplete plans may take longer. Plan review submission requirements, application, and additional resources are available at:
Once the plan is approved, a license application will be sent along with a plan approval letter. Submit the license application and fees prior to receiving final approval to operate. Contact MDH for a pre-operational inspection 14 days prior to your first event.
Location and Construction
- The entire operation must be accomplished from a single self-contained unit, except for storage of food and single-use items.
- Locate the stand away from possible contamination sources and provide a canopy or other form of overhead protection.
- Construct the stand or locate it so that it is protected during unfavorable weather. If the food is not adequately protected from weather, dust, and or/debris, all food activities must stop.
- Protect food preparation and cooking areas by a shield or separation distance to ensure customer safety and to prevent food contamination by customers.
- The floor, wall, and ceiling surfaces must be smooth, durable, and easily cleanable. Acceptable floor surfaces include vinyl, sealed wood, concrete, machine-laid asphalt, or other materials that are effective in controlling dust and mud.
- Provide shielded or shatter resistant lights.
“Equipment” means a freezer, grinder, hood, ice-maker, meat block, mixer, oven, reach-in refrigerator, scale, sink, slicer, stove, table, temperature measuring device for ambient air, vending machine, warewashing machine, or other article that is used in the operation of a food establishment.
- All equipment used in the food stand must meet applicable NSF International food service equipment standards or equivalent.
- If indoor cooking generates grease-laden smoke or unpleasant odors, a mechanical exhaust system must be provided.
- Provide adequate mechanical refrigeration to support the intended menu.
- If multiuse utensils are used, provide dishwashing facilities, which consist of at least a NSF three-compartment sink. Sink compartments must be large enough to accommodate immersion of the largest equipment and utensils. Also, provide adequate space for air-drying utensils.
- Water must be from an approved public water supply system. Water cannot come from a residential well.
- Water tanks must be easy to clean, big enough to meet the needs of the food stand, and constructed of an approved, non-toxic material.
- Hoses used to obtain water must be of food grade quality and have an approved backflow prevention device.
- Sewage must be discharged into an approved sewage disposal system.
- If a waste holding tank is used, it must be sized 15% larger in capacity than the water supply tank.
The food stand must operate in compliance with all applicable gas hook-up and service, electrical, and fire code requirements.
Safe Operation of a Food Stand
Individuals or groups operating a seasonal temporary food stand must operate in compliance with the Minnesota Food Code.
Safe Food Temperatures
- Provide accurate thermometers for monitoring the temperature of food. Cook all potentially hazardous food to required temperatures. Hold hot foods at or above 140°F. Hold cold foods at or below 41°F.
- Provide an accurate thermometer in each of the refrigeration units.
- All foods, beverages, and ice must be obtained from an approved commercial source.
- Conduct any off-site preparation or storage at a licensed food establishment. Food cannot be prepared or stored in a home.
Handwashing, Bare Hand Contact, and Employee Illness
- An available handwashing device with running water at a temperature between 70° F and 110° F, soap, nail brush, and paper towels must be provided at all stands where food is prepared. Water must be supplied under pressure.
- Gloves, wet-wipes, or hand sanitizers are not substitutes for handwashing. Hands must be washed before engaging in food preparation including working with food, clean equipment, and utensils, after smoking, eating or drinking, using toilet facilities or anytime hands become contaminated.
- Minimize bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food. Single use gloves may be used only after proper handwashing.
- Food service employees are the most important link in preventing foodborne illness. Do not allow ill employees to work in a food stand. Employees who have been ill with vomiting and/or diarrhea should not work for at least 24 hours after their symptoms end.
Food Safety Fact SheetsAdditional food safety information is available at:
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