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Home > Food from Farm to Table > Food Safety > Minnesota Food Code Fact Sheets > Special Event Food Stand

Special Event Food Stand

A special event food stand is a food and beverage service establishment which is used in conjunction with celebrations and special events, and which operates no more than ten total days within the applicable license period. All stands must be operated in compliance with the Minnesota Food Code.


License applications and fees must be submitted to the appropriate regulatory authority at least 14 days prior to operating a special event food stand. The following information must be included on the license application form:

  1. A list of all food and beverages to be served. Please note that the regulatory authority may restrict the type of food served or the method of food preparation based on equipment limitations.
  2. Sources of all foods served.
  3. A list of all equipment used in the food operation.
  4. A description of handwashing and dishwashing facilities.
  5. The water source and method of waste disposal.
  6. Time period and location of the operation.

Location and Construction of Stand

  1. Food stands must be located away from possible contamination sources, such as toilets, garbage, and animal pens.
  2. A stand must provide protection during adverse weather by its construction or location. Food activities must cease in adverse weather if the interior of the stand is not adequately protected from the weather, windblown dust and debris.
  3. A canopy or other form of overhead protection must be provided.
  4. The floor, wall, and ceiling surfaces must be smooth, durable, and easily cleanable. Acceptable floor surfaces include: vinyl, sealed wood, concrete, machine-laid asphalt, and dirt or gravel (only if covered by suitable materials that are effective in controlling dust and mud).
  5. Interior lights must be shielded or coated.
  6. Food preparation and cooking areas must be protected by an impervious shield or by a separation distance to ensure customer safety and prevent food contamination by customers.
  7. In addition to the Minnesota Food Code, other applicable codes may apply. Other requirements include ensuring that gas hook-up and services comply with the State Mechanical Code (Minnesota Rules, Chapter 1346), electrical services comply with the State Electrical Code (Minnesota Rules, Chapter 1315) and that a fire extinguisher with a minimum 2A 10 B C rating is provided if required by the State Fire Marshal.

Food Source

All foods, beverages and ice must be obtained from an approved source, such as a grocery store or commercial food distributor. Foods can not be prepared at home.


  1. Mechanical refrigeration is required for potentially hazardous food. For time periods of less than 4 hours, dry ice or frozen freezer packs may be used, as long as food can be maintained at 41oF. or less. Drained ice may be used to cool water-impervious beverage containers.
  2. Equipment must be provided for adequately cooking and maintaining required temperatures of hot potentially hazardous foods. Slow cookers are not permitted for this purpose.
  3. Accurate temperature measuring devices must be provided in each refrigeration unit or ice chest, and for monitoring internal food temperatures.

Dishwashing Facilities

Single service disposable utensils must be provided for eating and drinking purposes. Multi-use utensils may be used for the purpose of preparation, storage, service and dispensing of food. For washing multi-use utensils, a dishwashing facility must be available which consists of either an approved dishwashing machine, a three compartment sink, or at a minimum three containers of sufficient size to immerse utensils. The four step manual dishwashing process includes:

Step 1: Washing utensils in warm water in the first sink or container.

Step 2: Rinsing in clear water in second sink or container.

Step 3: Sanitizing with an approved sanitizer in the third sink or container.

Step 4: Air drying all utensils and equipment. Towel drying is prohibited.

Approved sanitizers include quaternary ammonium, iodine, or chlorine. If bleach is used as a sanitizer, use at least one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and provide test strips for measuring sanitizer concentration.

Handwashing Facilities

A handwashing device supplied with warm running water, soap, nailbrush, and paper towels must be provided at all stands where food is prepared. Water can be supplied under pressure or by gravity.

Water Source: Water must be from an approved source. Some approved sources are a public water supply system or commercially bottled drinking water. 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.

Waste Disposal

  1. Waste water must be discharged into an approved sanitary sewer or holding tank. Ground surface discharge is not permitted.
  2. Trash and garbage stored for extended periods must be placed in tightly covered, non-absorbent containers.

Insect Control

Provide effective insect control by use of screening, covering, and good sanitation. If insecticides are used, they must be:

  1. an approved type,
  2. used according to manufacture's directions, and
  3. not used when food or utensils are exposed.

Intermittent spray dispensers or vapor strips can not be used.

MDA Contact

Food & Feed Safety Division