The Process for Getting a Temporary Food Dealer’s Permit

food safetyAre you planning on serving food at your next campus event? You might need a Temporary Food Dealer’s Permit. 

University of Houston departments, student organizations, third party vendors, and any other group wishing to serve food to the UH community or public on campus must apply for a Temporary Food Dealer’s Permit through the Food Safety Office. 

The university’s Food Safety department created a decision tree to help interested parties figure out if they need a temporary food dealer’s permit or not. 

Whether a Temporary Food Dealer’s Permit is needed boils down to a single question.  

Will your Student Organization/Department serve food for fundraising or to people outside of the organization/department? If the answer is yes, then a Temporary Food Dealer’s Permit is required? 

However, there are examples where a Temporary Food Dealer’s Permit is not needed. Birthday celebrations, office meetings, and training sessions where lunch is served do not need a food permit. This exemption only applies to UH organizations. 

Christina Martinez, one of two food inspectors at the university, said the department created the decision tree because they received many inquiries about food permits for events around campus. 

The decision tree was released earlier this year and has proven to be helpful. 

“It has helped, actually,” said Martinez. “Instead of departments or student organizations calling regarding their event, they just submit a permit.” 

Registered student organizations can apply for a Temporary Food Dealer’s Permit by visiting the UH Get Involved website. Departments, 3rd party vendors, and visitors can apply for a permit through the Food Safety Office, by filling out the form on the Fire & Life Safety website and emailing the form to 

Martinez said she’s noticed when receiving Temporary Food Dealer’s Permit forms, applicants are not including enough detail about the type of food they will be serving at their event. 

If an applicant writes “Italian food,” the Food Safety department will not approve the form. Applicants need to be specific regarding the kind of Italian food items they will be serving. If the required level of detail is not included, the Food Safety department will notify the applicant to update their form so it can be approved. 

Since the decision tree was created, the Food Safety department has seen an uptick in requests for a Temporary Food Dealer’s Permit. You can find this helpful resource and great resources for food safety at Temporary Food Dealer Permits - University of Houston (