Tom Wolf, GovernorRussell Redding, Secretary
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Fair and Other Temporary License Facilities

Not all Retail Food Facilities (temporary or permanent) in Pennsylvania are under the jurisdiction of the PA Department of Agriculture. Six counties -, Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Erie, Montgomery, and Philadelphia - have county health departments, and conduct retail inspections and licensing in their jurisdictions. Some local municipalities, boroughs, townships, cities, etc., also do their own inspection and licensing of Retail Food Facilities, including fairs and other temporary events. For a listing of Local Health Jurisdictions, click here.   If your facility or event is, or will be, located in a Local Health jurisdiction you should contact the local health department for assistance with licensing.

Temporary Licenses

Temporary licenses are only valid as described below. If a proprietor intends to sell more than 14 calendar days in a calendar year, they must obtain a permanent license. 

 Requirements for a temporary license are valid as such:

(i) A license that is the following:

Issued to the operator of a temporary food facility (TFF)

Valid for the duration of a particular event or celebration (such as a fair or carnival) of no more than 14 days duration (whether these days are consecutive or nonconsecutive)


 (ii) A license that is the following:

Issued to a food facility operator operating a food facility, whether stationary or mobile

In operation for a total of no more than 14 days within a particular calendar year

Not in conjunction with an event or celebration

A Temporary Food Facility, or TFF, is a food facility that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in a fixed location and in conjunction with a single event or celebration (such as a fair, festival, carnival or other transitory gathering).  

A TFF or Fair Vendor must obtain a Retail Food License prior to operating a retail food facility. A Temporary Food Facility or fair vendor can apply for either a temporary or permanent license with the department.  Regardless of whether a proprietor obtains a temporary or permanent license/registration, the Food Code has specific exemptions for those facilities defined as Temporary Food Facilities. Licenses and registrations are non- transferable to another proprietor or a new facility or location. 

Permanent License - To obtain a permanent license fill out a "Retail Food Facility Permanent License/Registration Application and Plan Review" 

PDA Exemptions to Retail Food Licensing- (PDA Exemption Order dated 01/22/2011)

Any exempted facility is still subject to inspection and all other provisions of the Retail Food Facility Safety Act. 

1.Operating for 3 or less days in one calendar year, in aggregate. 

2.Charitable non-profit entity established to promote and encourage participation or support for extracurricular recreational activities for YOUTH. 

3.Handles only pre-packaged NON-potentially hazardous foods, such as canned soda and packaged chips or candy

4.Handles raw (unprocessed, not ready-to-eat) agricultural commodities, such as whole apples. 

Other Links: Code of Federal Regulations


Melissa Vaccaro
Program Specialist
(717) 787-5108

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