Foods Frequently Asked Questions

The food service program is the largest of the environmental programs at the Johnson County Health Department.  The primary focus of the county food service program is to enforce and administer health codes and protect consumers from food-borne illness.  Support activities include operator education, plan review, complaint investigation, and Food-borne illness investigations.  The Johnson County Health Department uses Indiana Rule 410 IAC 7-24.

Do I need to obtain a food license to operate in Johnson County?

Yes, you will first need to submit plans & a menu for our review & approval 30 days prior to planned opening.  Only after you have obtained approval from all of the appropriate offices; planning & zoning, building, and fire, may you open.

Can I operate a food-service kitchen out of my home kitchen?

No, food prepared in a private home may not be used or offered for human consumption in a retail food establishment.

We have a licensed retail food establishment. Can we have a cookout /tent party in the restaurant parking lot?

You will need to obtain a temporary license to cook, hold and serve food in the parking lot. You will also need to register the event. You can obtain a temporary license application from our Web site.

We are going to take part in a festival/fair – what do we need to do?

You will first need to contact the event organizer and become part of the festival or fair. You will then need to obtain a temporary food permit.

We are participating in a temporary event and will have two stands. Do I need two permits?

If the stands are side by side you will need only one permit. If the stands are in two different locations you will need a permit for each location.

We are a not-for-profit organization. Do we need a license to vend food at our event?

Under Indiana code 16-42-5-4, if you are an organization that has a state gross retail tax exemption [(501 (c)(3)], offers food to the final customer at an event held for the benefit of the organization, members of the organization prepare the food, and you do not conduct these events more than 30 days a year, you may fill out an application and submit a copy of your state gross tax exemption to this department.  If your organization does not have a state gross tax exemption you will need to obtain a temporary license.

The temporary guidelines say only limited food preparation shall occur on site. What does this mean?

Only grilling of meat and chicken can be conducted at the event. A sandwich can be assembled or pizza can be cooked and sliced. All other food preparation such as chopping, mixing, or thawing shall occur in a licensed food establishment prior to the event.

I am organizing a temporary event and am concerned about providing water to vendors.

The organizer is responsible for providing one location, at the event site, for the food vendors to obtain water for hand washing, utensil washing, and sanitizing.

What is a temporary hand washing station?

This facility must consist of at least running water, soap, paper towels, a discard bucket and trash can. If a sink is not available, a large thermos or container in which water is held for dispensing for hand washing can be used. The container must have a spout that allows the water to remain running without holding or pushing it. A container twice the size of the water container needs to be placed under the water container to catch the wastewater.

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I am an event organizer and have ordered portable toilets for my event. Can hand sanitizer be used instead of renting hand-washing stations?

Hand sanitizer is not a substitute for hand washing. You must provide hand washing stations as described in section 427 guidelines. The stations are rented from the portable toilet companies.


Adapted from the Marion County Web site.