Special Events & Tradeshows
Frequently Asked Questions
- What forms do I need to fill out and when do I have to return them to Calgary Health Region?
- Is there a cost for the approval?
- Do I get a permit?
- Does everyone need to fill out a a vendor form?
- What do I need for Special Events or Trade Shows?
- Do I, as a vendor, get a permit?
- Do I need health approval to sell food at Farmer's Markets?
- How can I make sure I haven't forgotten anything?
- Do I need a sink if I only have pre-packaged food?
- When do I need a sink?
- What kind of portable sinks are there?
- Can two-compartment utensil washing sinks be shared?
- Can I wash my utensils back at home or in my hotel room?
- Can I use a garden hose to connect water to the sink?
- What is a temporary handwash station?
- Can handwash sinks be shared?
- Can I use a washroom sink to wash my hands for food handling?
Hand Gel / Gloves
- Can hand gel be used in place of a handwash station?
- Can gloves take the place of a handwash station?
- Can I prepare and cook foods on site?
- Can I prepare food in my home?
- Can dips or food be prepared for the trade show in my hotel room?
Food training courses
- At what temperature do I have to keep my cold foods?
- At what temperature do I have to keep my hot foods?
- What temperature is required when reheating my perishable foods?
- How can I check the temperature?
- What equipment is good for hot holding?
- What equipment is good for cold holding?
- How should I transport my foods?
If you are having a Special Event or Trade Show that has any or all of the following:
- food and/or beverages
- personal services i.e. barbering, hairdressing/braiding, esthetics (e.g. manicures, pedicures, waxing), massage, tattooing, ear/body piercing
- petting zoos and animals events
- You will need to fill out an Organizer Application Form for Special Events & Trade Shows if you are the organizer. The organizer(s) is required to complete and return the Organizer Application to us, TWO (2) months prior to the proposed Special Event or Trade Show.
- If you are providing a food and/or beverage booth/stall at the Special Event or Trade Show you will need to fill out the Vendor Application Form for Special Events or Trade Shows . The Participant Application Forms should be return to us ONE (1) month prior to the proposed Special Event or Trade Show.
- The reason we have these forms is to give Alberta Health Services a good picture what foods/beverages are being served, where they are prepared, who has attended a safe food handling course, proper number of required sinks, types of equipment available, safe food preparation and handling, waste management and to ensure that you have a safe event for the public.
- There is no cost for this service if application forms are received within the noted time.
- Late applications are subject to being charged $150 administration fees.
- Any changes made to an application less than 10 business days prior to the event will be required to pay a fee of $150.
- If an inspector finds an unregistered booth at the event the organizer will be charged a $150 fee.
No, Alberta Health Services gives approval for events to take place but no actual printed permit is handed out.
If you are providing a food and/or beverage booth/stall at the Special Event or Trade Show you will need to fill out the Vendor Application Form for Special Events or Trade Shows. This is to ensure that you have the proper equipment and safe food handling so that your event goes as smoothly and trouble free.
Here is the information sheet on Requirements for Special Events & Trade Shows .
No, booths are inspected by a Public Health Inspector no less than one (1) hour before the special event is scheduled to start, in accordance with the Provincial Food Regulation. If all requirements are met, the booth is approved and allowed to operate. If any requirement is not met, the booth will not be allowed to open for business until complete.
Yes. Please review the information in the document "Starting A Food Business in the Calgary Health Region ".
Here is the Approval Inspection Checklist for Special Events & Trade Shows that you can use to make sure that you have everything in place.
All booths handling open food require a suitable handwash station. In addition most booths will require immediate access to a two (2) compartment sink for utensil washing. Handwash stations must be equipped with liquid soap and single use towels in suitable dispensers. A temporary handwash station may be permitted in limited circumstances.
There are two type of portable sinks.
- Totally self-contained with a totally enclosed potable water tank, hot water heater & pump and totally enclosed wastewater holding tank with a minimum capacity of 22 litres (often called a “Blue Boy”).
- Portable sink is connected to an approved potable water system, hot water heater & pump and may be discharged directly to an approved sanitary sewer or stored in a totally enclosed wastewater holding tank with a minimum capacity of 22 litres (often called a “Blue Boy”).
In limited circumstances they may be shared. This must be approved first by the health inspector.
No. Utensils washing and sanitizing must be done in an approved area. A home kitchen or hotel room is not an approved area.
No. Only CSA food grade approved hose can be used. Garden hoses have impurities and breakdown.
A temporary handwash station may be permitted in limited circumstances.
Here is the description:
- A fresh water source (at a temperature between 30°C - 45°C) which
allows both hands to be washed at the same time in a stream of water. A
minimum capacity of five (5) gallons (22L) is required.
e.g. a five (5) gallon (22L) camping jug or coffee urn with a tap or spigot filled with water that is maintained at proper temperature. An insulated coffee urn is ideal.
- An enclosed collection system to catch the waster water from the handwashing procedure. The waste collection system must be equal or
greater in capacity than the water source. This can be achieved by a
large funnel into a empty five (5) gallon pail.
e.g. a large automotive funnel will fit entirely over the top of an open five (5) gallon pail. A smaller funnel can be inserted into a hole in the lid of the pail. The funnel should be large enough to trap all waste water.
- Single-use towels and liquid soap in suitable dispensers.
No. All booths handling open food require their own handwash station.
No. A washroom sink cannot be used. Studies have proven that 6 out of 10 people do not adequately wash their hands after using the toilet. The taps and doors knobs may be contaminated. This is called cross contamination.
No. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not permitted as a replacement for traditional handwashing except when all four of the following conditions are met:
- An approved handwash station is located in reasonable proximity to the booth.
- The food handler’s hands are not visibly soiled.
- Foods have already been prepared and/or portioned in an approved food preparation area and the food handler is only heating and serving foods
- The food handler uses utensils only and does not touch foods with hands.
Examples of when the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers are accepted:
- Dispensing of beverages, (this does not include preparation of beverages)
- Limited handling of non-perishable products (e.g. emptying potato chips or crackers into a bowl, allowing customers to self-serve jars of jam), customers must never handle food directly, tongs etc. must be used, or
- Serving of pre-portioned items (e.g. on toothpicks or in disposable cups) when the pre-portioning and insertion of toothpicks etc. occurs in an approved location.
No. Hands must be washed in an approved handwash station prior to putting unworn gloves on. If hands are contaminated prior to wearing gloves the number of harmful bacteria will increase after wearing gloves for a period of time.
No. Only FINAL cooking is permitted at the site of the event; i.e. no cutting/chopping of ingredients, marinating, or other forms of food processing or preparation, unless the site is equipped with facilities approved by the health inspector.
No. ABSOLUTELY NO home food preparation or cooking is permitted. Food must be prepared in a facility with a Valid FOOD ESTABLISHMENT PERMIT that has been issued by the Regional Health Authority.
No. Food must be prepared in a facility with a Valid FOOD ESTABLISHMENT PERMIT that has been issued by the Regional Health Authority.
It is recommended that all food handlers have the basic food handling course. Safe Food Handling Programs for Special Events are scheduled several evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. You will receive a wallet sized card that is valid for three years. Regular daytime Mini Food Safety Course are held on a regular basis if you are unable to attend the evening session. A Home Study Program is also available for those who cannot attend.
All perishable cold foods (e.g. seafood, meats, poultry, dairy products, etc.) must be kept at temperatures below 4°C (40°F).
All perishable hot foods (e.g. seafood, meats, poultry, dairy products, etc.) must be kept at temperatures above 60°C (140°F).
All perishable foods that have been cooked, then cooled to 4 °C (40°F) shall be reheated to 74°C (165°F) for 15 seconds.
The best way to check the temperature is with a suitable thermometer that is capable of measuring between 0°C and 100°C (i.e. probe or infrared thermometer). Probe thermometers are available in select kitchen shops and food equipment suppliers. You may also be able to purchase a thermometer from your Health Inspector.
Steam tables or stoves are the best. Chafing dishes are best when used indoors to help maintain the temperatures above 60 °C. When used outdoors there are so many variable conditions such as wind, cool outdoor air temperature that chafing dishes are not recommended unless used in conjunction with a stove. Chafing dishes do not heat the foods up to proper temperature, they only help maintain the temperature when used properly. Cambros can also be used when used correctly. Perishable hot foods must be maintained at 60°C or more.
Commercial coolers are the best. Please allow enough time for cooler to cool to less than 4 °C (40°F) before an event. Domestic refrigerators cannot usually keep up with the number of times that doors are opened during an event. Ice chest can be used when used properly. You must layer the food in several layers of ice to maintain the food at 4° (40°F) or less. Talk to your organizer of the event to ensure there is a supply of ice available to replenish melted ice. Foods must not float around in water that has melted from the ice as this will contaminate food that is not sealed properly.
Foods must be transported from food establishments in a manner that prevents contamination and keeps the cold foods at temperatures below 4°C (40°F) or hot foods at temperatures above 60°C (140°F). This can be done by using a refrigerated truck, ice chests, insulated units for cold foods and cambros or thermal units for hot foods.
In accordance with The Nuisance and General Sanitation Regulation under the Provincial Public Health Act 6 (1) the operator of a fair, exhibition, sport day, festival, social, concert, carnival or other similar gathering shall ensure that (a) temporary outdoor privies are provided at the event in the number determined in accordance with the Schedule (see document in this link to determine numbers) (b) hand washing facilities are provided at or near the outdoor privies.
What do I need for face painting, massage, barbering, hairdressing/braiding, esthetics, (e.g. manicures, pedicures, waxing), , tattooing and ear/body piercing? See Requirements for Personal Services at Special Events and Trade Shows .
A Stampede Breakfast is a “non-profit food event”, which means a temporary food establishment usually operated for less than 1 day and that has a long standing tradition with Calgary Health Region that operates with no direct or indirect charge to customers. See Calgary Health Region Guidelines for Stampede Breakfasts .