Local Foods: Temporary Food Stands Back »

Written by Joan Hegerfeld-Baker (former SDSU Extension Food Safety Specialist).

Any foodservice establishment operating in a fixed location for a temporary period of time is considered a temporary foodservice. A typical example may be at the fair, carnival, circus, public exhibition or similar transitory gathering such as a farmers market. If a farmers market, as a non-profit* organization offers a free community meal to promote their market, they do not need to obtain a temporary foodservice license. However, if a vendor, or group of vendors, provides a meal or food item for sale or give-away that must be temperature controlled, they will need to obtain a temporary license. Vendors are not considered non-profit. However, the farmers market is often registered as a non-profit entity.

  • *Non-profit organizations are defined as any governmental organization, church, fraternal, social, school, youth, or other similar organization that is organized and operated for a common good and not for the specific monetary gain of any person or persons.

Examples of situations not requiring a temporary food licenses at the farmers market:

  • A youth organization holds a brat feed at the farmers market to raise funds for a family that has experienced a hardship or for their organization.
  • A farmers market sells tickets for a community meal at the farmers market to get people to come to the market or to promote the market. The ticket sales cover the costs of the meal. Any funds generated from the meal are for the farmers market as a non-profit organization. The funds do not go directly to the vendors.
  • A farmers market serves sweet corn to the people that visit the market.

These are some examples that commonly occur – certainly more exist. The farmers markets can require that anyone, including non-profit organizations, obtain a temporary foodservice license in their market rules. This pertains to foods that must be temperature controlled for safety. This practice would help to assure that the non-profit organization has connected with the department of health to address the safe handling practices that are critical to the food they are distributing in a specific setting.

The temporary foodservice applications must be submitted to the SD Department of Health 14 days prior to beginning operation. To determine compliance with all requirements set by the Department of Health, an inspection may be conducted at each stand by a state inspector with the Department of Public Safety or Department of Health.

A license fee for a temporary foodservice license is $38 (2015 fee schedule). The license is valid only at the event or location at which it is used for a period of two weeks. As a general rule, the Dept. of Health will only issue 3 consecutive licenses to a person or vendor. At that point, the vendor should consider a regular license or a mobile food stand license.

In summary, nonprofit organizations are exempt from obtaining a temporary foodservice license. However, they are not exempt from inspection. Non-profits can be inspected to insure safe food handling practices for the general public. Farmers markets as well any other type of non-profit venue are selling or distributing foods to the general public, therefore they are not exempt from inspection even though they do not need to obtain a temporary foodservice license.

Contact Information: Temporary Food Stands


South Dakota Department of Health
Office of Health Protection


Sioux Falls Department of Health
Public Health –Licensure/Permits/Registration



Native American Lands

If operating on land that is within the jurisdiction of Native American lands contact the official Tribal Office. A link to all Sioux Tribes in South Dakota is located at the Travel South Dakota website.

Additional Resources

South Dakota Farmers Market Online Guidebook

This article is a portion of the South Dakota Farmers Market Online Guidebook.

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