Dear Editor:

I wanted to clarify Interior Healths temporary food event permitting process in light of recent coverage in The Pioneer.

Interior Health recognizes that temporary food events like fundraising barbecues are an important and valuable part of our communities. Our role is to assist people to minimize the risk of illnesses associated with food so that the food served at these events is safe. Our approach and the guidelines we use have not changed from last year. In fact, we have issued more than twice the number of permits this summer in the Columbia Valley compared to last summer.

The specific requirements for a permit are based on the level of risk associated with the foods being served. Items such as muffins, donuts, popcorn, fresh fruits and vegetables do not require a permit.

Other foods may require a permit, but there can be several ways to address practices for hand washing, temperature control, and food handling, especially for lower-risk foods like hot dogs and commercially pre-cooked hamburgers.

Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) can help individuals and groups with permit applications for events. There is no fee for Temporary Food Event permits.

When permit applications are received, EHOs can assist organizers to identify and minimize potential food safety risks. We ask that permit applications are submitted at least two weeks prior to the event. More information and permit applications are available at

Dan Byron

Environmental Health Officer

Interior Health