Serving Food? Read This!

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.
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trilobyte
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Serving Food? Read This!

Post by trilobyte » Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:31 pm

Will you or your camp be serving food on the playa? If so, read below:

Who must obtain a permit?
  • Any person or camp wishing to serve food to the public will require a permit no matter the number served.
  • Any theme camp that is serving meals to 125 persons or more in the camp.
What kind of foods will be approved for food preparation at Burning Man?
The application must include a complete menu for review and approval. There are certain foods or processes that will not be approved for service at Burning Man. Simple food preparation methods are recommended to reduce the risk of illness. Complex food operations that involve potentially hazardous foods that are difficult to maintain in playa conditions, will be prohibited. Prohibited foods include:
  • The service or sharing of food from unapproved sources; such as food prepared in a private home,
  • Foods prepared under a cottage food registration or home-canned foods,
  • Food that has undergone reduced oxygen packaging (i.e. vacuum sealing),
  • Raw or undercooked shellfish under any circumstances,
  • Raw or undercooked animal products.
It is important to know that:
  • The health department does not accept applications or issue permits on the playa.
  • The health department does not require permits for bars serving ONLY alcoholic beverages.
  • You must set-up and use your hand washing station before providing food service. Failure to provide a hand wash station will result in closure.
You can get more information, as well as download the guidelines, a checklist, and the application form HERE (scroll down, Burning Man info is towards the bottom of the page).

The permit fee is $50, and you send that in with your application IN ADVANCE (they do not accept walk-up applications on playa). If approved, you will received paperwork via mail from the health department. You then bring that to them on-playa to give them your camp location and to pick up your permit. Location and schedule for 2016 has not yet been announced, but historically they are located at or next to Playa Info near Center Camp.

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Just_Joe » Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:00 pm

and for mobile food carts,
I spoke with someone at the health department last month.

The requirements are the same. You still need to do *all* the stuff they require for a normal kitchen in your permanent camp.
Once permitted, you can toodle around the playa in your trailer/mutant food vehicle with a minimal of health department required stuff.
You ARE however, required to maintain a hand wash station wherever you go.

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Elderberry » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:25 am

And I have to add that these people are really a joy to work with, some are even burners. They are extremely helpful and their intention is to keep people safe. If they find violations they help you to get you compliant, not shut you down. I've even started incorporating many of their suggestions when cooking at home!
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Jovankat » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:35 pm

Elderberry wrote:And I have to add that these people are really a joy to work with, some are even burners.

Does that mean the others drive in and out each day?

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Elderberry » Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:22 am

I don't know and never even thought to ask. I do know that after their shift, many of them do go out and just enjoy themselves and the event. Which leads me to believe they probably are staying somewhere on-playa. But I really have no idea. I'll try to remember to ask this year and report back. (We actually get two food permits, one for our private kitchen and the other for the public Cafe, so we have ample time to chat with them.)
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by trilobyte » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:13 am

What I take that line to mean is that many of them have been participating in the event since long before the health department was regulating kitchens at the event, and are active in their local burner communities outside of being a health department employee.

The one woman I've talked to a few times is on her 15th or 16th burn if I remember correctly, and has been coming out to the black rock desert since the 1980's.

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Skuzzy61 » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:20 am

Okay, I know this might be a silly question, but the anal ghost in my head is kicking me around making me ask it or it is going to explode from the top of my head......

If you are in your shade structure eating breakfast and someone strolls by, can you ask them to join without having a certificate from the health department?
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Dr. Pyro » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:25 am

Skuzzy, that's just fine. Encouraged even. What they're trying to avoid is the feeding (and possibility of poisoning through carelessness rather than intent) hundreds of people. If you and your peeps want to gift breakfast to anybody wandering by, that is just fine. And for the record, I tend to wander by around 9:20 a.m. on most mornings.

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by trilobyte » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:28 am

If it's a one-off occurrence, no problem (so is having a friend to dinner). Now, if your idea of eating breakfast is cooking many pounds of bacon and by "someone" you mean "everyone" - that would be a problem.

Another way to look at it is talking vs. shouting. If you're talking to a person you've just met and invite them via normal conversation, no problem. But if you're shouting to strangers or random passers-by, you need a permit.

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by AntiM » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:51 am

We used to have a couple in our village who made pancakes and handed them out of their dome to passersby. Naked breakfast. The permit people got after them, so they moved the dome opening to face into the village and continued to serve breakfast to anyone who dropped in, just not on the street.

It evolved into amazing breakfasts in the middle of the village, but was not sustainable when the main couple moved on to other pursuits.

We have a camp oven, and will offer fresh cookies or sweet rolls to folks who wander in, or are in the village.

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Skuzzy61 » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:01 am

Dr. Pyro wrote:Skuzzy, that's just fine. Encouraged even. What they're trying to avoid is the feeding (and possibility of poisoning through carelessness rather than intent) hundreds of people. If you and your peeps want to gift breakfast to anybody wandering by, that is just fine. And for the record, I tend to wander by around 9:20 a.m. on most mornings.
Well, you know where the RV will be. :)
trilobyte wrote:If it's a one-off occurrence, no problem (so is having a friend to dinner). Now, if your idea of eating breakfast is cooking many pounds of bacon and by "someone" you mean "everyone" - that would be a problem.

Another way to look at it is talking vs. shouting. If you're talking to a person you've just met and invite them via normal conversation, no problem. But if you're shouting to strangers or random passers-by, you need a permit.
No, I was being very specific. We were thinking of the folks who might have a tent next to our RV, for example. Or if Dr. Pyro wandered in.


Thanks for the answers. That anal rattletrap can be quiet for a few minutes now. Phew.
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Ratty » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:13 am

Skuzzy, I love bacon but I'm too disorganized/lazy to keep perishables in my cooler. I'll be riding around early morning sniffing the air for your camp.
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Skuzzy61 » Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:45 am

Ratty wrote:Skuzzy, I love bacon but I'm too disorganized/lazy to keep perishables in my cooler. I'll be riding around early morning sniffing the air for your camp.
I am going to need a bigger fry pan. :)
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by tffy » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:49 pm

So what I want to do completely contravenes the rule above:

Prohibited foods include:
Raw or undercooked animal products.


But, if I want to serve uncooked (marinated, prepared, stored in a fridge till go time) pieces of meat that are on loooong skewers and have a fire right nearby - so that everyone that gets one can cook the piece of meat to their liking - while enjoying the smells of cooking food, the warmth of the coals, making friends with people nearby - why the eff can't I do that!??! And how can I go about doing it? :)

Thanks for any thoughts/feedbacks!

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by ThomasServeux » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:21 pm

Learn the rules, and keep a meat thermometer handy. Keep, it sterile and in a safe place. Never met Health dept at BM, but have in Las Vegas...they will shut you down in a heart beat.
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Elderberry » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:48 am

tffy wrote:So what I want to do completely contravenes the rule above:

Prohibited foods include:
Raw or undercooked animal products.


But, if I want to serve uncooked (marinated, prepared, stored in a fridge till go time) pieces of meat that are on loooong skewers and have a fire right nearby - so that everyone that gets one can cook the piece of meat to their liking - while enjoying the smells of cooking food, the warmth of the coals, making friends with people nearby - why the eff can't I do that!??! And how can I go about doing it? :)

Thanks for any thoughts/feedbacks!
I don't think that is what the health department means when they are talking about serving raw foods for people to cook for themselves and you are providing the place to cook it as part of the service.

The sticking point would be where you planned on preparing and marinating it. If you are going to be doing all of that on the playa it's OK. If you are planning on doing all the prep stuff at home, it's not Ok.

For example, the rules say that suis vide cooking is not permitted. But that's not entirety true. If what you will be coming is vacuume sealed by the manufacturer/provider, it is permissable. If you are planning on vacuume sealing at home in your kitchen it is not permitted.

I suggest you can them directly, they are very friendly and will answer any questions you have.

Also, those rules only apply is you are going to be serving to the public and/or your camp if over 125 people. (Might be 150 you'll have to verify that.

I run a kitchen and cook for about 60 people in the camp and get the food permit anyway. I'd rather be safe than getting anybody sick. They aren't there to shut you down, they are there to make sure you don't get everybody sick and will tell you what you need to correct and give you time to do it before they will shut you down.
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Elderberry » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:14 pm

Info for 2016 Nevada Health Department Food Permit Application Process.

After almost an hour trying to find and figure out how to navigate the brand new online application for a food permit I felt compelled to post this so that nobody else has to experience the same pain. :shock:

If you want to do things the old-fashioned way and just download the application and send it in with your check, you can find the links to download the application and related materials explaining the requirements here.

If you want to use the new on-line form that direct link is here.

You can download the instructions for filling out that form here. I couldn't find it again when I went to post the link to the Nevada Health Department site so I uploaded it to our camp site.

The most important thing to know is that there are some glitches on the site. The most important one to be aware of is the last page you see after submitting the application and it has that red warning on the page telling you that your application is not complete until you fill out the documents below. Those links lead to the forms that you need to submit if you are submitting by mail. They are not required, as you will have just finished providing that information on-line. So, Ignore the warning. Your form was submitted correctly and you are good to go. I called and confirmed that my application was received.

They are aware of the issues with the site and even the staff aren't exactly what I'd call familiar with the system. They have been getting other complaints, but I was the lucky first Burner to have applied.
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Hummusguy88 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:53 pm

Anyone knows if there is a way to file last min (this week?) for an extra charge?

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Canoe » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:43 pm

When I last had to contact them for clarification on rules, it was Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (NDPBH), Environmental Health Section, under the Winnemucca office. I could look up the phone number and contact them directly for clarification. They were very helpful, with the attitude they wanted to help people be safe.

One thought, is to use the online form today, so you meet the seven days for a permit for the first Monday. But as you're pushing the letter of the date, I expect it's better to phone them FIRST THING tomorrow morning. Make it as easy for them as possible.
  • Make sure you've read what the requirements are before you contact them, as they wouldn't be impressed if you had a casual regard for the food health requirements.
  • Make sure you've got ALL the information/documentation and the application all filled out and ready to go. Do tell them that you've got this done.
  • Be prepared to use their online form if they ask you to do that to expedite matters.
  • Have or know where a fax machine is, so you can tell them "I can go to ___ and fax it to you in 15 minutes!"
Phone them, see if they're still the authority/office, then explain you've got the form all ready and ask them what to do.
Alternately, ask them if they'd like the form faxed to (775) 623-6528 or would they prefer you use the online form?
http://dpbh.nv.gov/Reg/Food/dta/Locatio ... Locations/

Winnemucca
475 W. Haskell St., Rm 38
Winnemucca, NV 89445
Phone: (775) 623-6588
Fax: (775) 623-6528
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by _summer_night » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:49 am

We are thinking about having a public noodle bar with premade sauces. It will be home premade sauces that will be vacuum sealed and frozen. This is the safest, easiest, and fastest way to do it. Is there any way around this to make it permissible?

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Canoe » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:44 am

Canoe wrote:When I last had to contact them for clarification on rules, it was Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (NDPBH), Environmental Health Section, under the Winnemucca office. I could look up the phone number and contact them directly for clarification. They were very helpful, with the attitude they wanted to help people be safe.
...
http://dpbh.nv.gov/Reg/Food/dta/Locatio ... Locations/

Winnemucca
475 W. Haskell St., Rm 38
Winnemucca, NV 89445
Phone: (775) 623-6588
Fax: (775) 623-6528
1. Check the 2017 rules & regulations.

2. Give them a call.

3. But I guess that as what you want to do appears to be prohibited under the 2016 list trilobyte provided above, don't get your hopes up.

But do find out in advance. You don't want to be found in violation, shutdown, fined and kicked off the playa.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Maxsawicky » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:23 pm

hey everyone, so i only really have one main question.

I have a very special portable pizza oven (rocce box), that I want to wheel out deep playa and cook pizza's. cheese and marinades sealed from manufacturers and i will be mixing the dough in camp. no meat or fresh veggies since it is an added complication. Ill only be set up to make 10-15 (small) pizza's a night, for probably 2-3 nights.

so my question is, when applying for a temporary food permit the online form asks for a nevada state ID and facility name (DBA). Do i need to register a business to gift food on playa?

This seems like pandora's box to me, as i do not have a business in any way shape or form. I'll be purchasing food from retail stores and refrigerated during transportation to the playa. so no real preparation .

i appreciate any help

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by lucky420 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:25 pm

No you shouldn’t have to register as a business
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Canoe » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:34 pm

Maxsawicky wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:23 pm
... so my question is, when applying for a temporary food permit the online form asks for a nevada state ID and facility name (DBA). Do i need to register a business to gift food on playa?...
Sounds like you found the regular temporary food permit form?
In years past, there's been a Burning Man specific application, as there are requirements specific to the Burning Man event's environment, etc..
So look for such.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Maxsawicky » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:59 pm

im following the links in this thread, all of which lead to needing the establishment license....

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Ratty » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:33 am

There is or will be a 'Burning Man' specific license. If necessary, call Nevada. They know you are not a business. They are only concerned with you serving safe food and collecting their fee. On the playa you will need to pick up your license on site and be inspected.

The original post by Trilobyte has the link you need. Oops. That link didn't help at all.
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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Canoe » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:56 am

Maxsawicky wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:59 pm
im following the links in this thread, all of which lead to needing the establishment license....
The Burning Man section is at the bottom as usual, but all of the "See the following information sheet, application and self-inspection checklist for more information." appear to be gone. Just the link to login to the "new online application process".

I'd suggest you contact the DPBH Winnimucca office and ask. Current contact info is same as listed in a post above.

Do post back here what you find out.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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Re: Serving Food? Read This!

Post by Canoe » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:58 pm

Canoe wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:56 am
Maxsawicky wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:59 pm
im following the links in this thread, all of which lead to needing the establishment license....
The Burning Man section is at the bottom as usual, but all of the "See the following information sheet, application and self-inspection checklist for more information." appear to be gone. Just the link to login to the "new online application process".
I'd suggest you contact the DPBH Winnimucca office and ask. Current contact info is same as listed in a post above.
Do post back here what you find out.
Site was updated.
Burning Man related stuff is near the bottom, as usual.
Links to documents restored. Links labelled 2018, some documents are 2017 some 2018.
I guess you use what's there until DPBH tells you different.
http://dpbh.nv.gov/Reg/Temp-E/Temporary_Events_Home/

Deadline: for applications is August 10, 2018.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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