Food Service Permits

lobster roll
oysters
food service

Falmouth is host to numerous restaurants, mobile food operations, and temporary food vendors.  In order to expedite the processing of your food permit application, please make sure that all necessary paperwork and fees are included, and that it's submitted 30 days prior to when your event or licensing period begins.  

Additional documentation will be required to be submitted with the food permit application, such as: 

  • a copy of your permit to operate from your base town or a letter of agreement from your commissary, 
  • a copy of the certification showing that a person-in-charge has completed a food safety manager training program and an allergen awareness training program, *unless you qualify for an exemption, these are listed in the food code if you are unsure
  • a workers compensation affidavit and a copy of the policy if applicable.  
  • If you are a mobile or temporary vendor, please submit photos or drawings showing the set-up that you wish to use the day of the event. 
  •  If you have a brick-and-mortar food establishment that has 25 seats or more, an employee trained in anti-choking procedures must be on-site during all food service hours; a copy of their certification must be included with your application.  

If you have any questions about the application process, please call the Health Dept. at (508) 495-7485 or email us at health@falmouthmass.us. 

Planning an event but not sure if you need a food permit?

Any event where food will be served, sold, or handed out to the general public requires a temporary or mobile food permit.  Sometimes there is a fine line between what is considered a public event and what is considered a private event.  Potluck and private events do not require a permit from the Board of Health.  Please reach out to us here at the Health Dept. if you have any questions about what your event qualifies as.

Potluck Events

In 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law chapter 230, section 328A, “An Act Relative to Potluck Events”. Under this legislation, all of the following conditions must be met for the event to be considered a “Potluck Event” exempt from regulation.

  • People must be gathered to share food at the event
  • There is no compensation provided to people for bringing food to the event
  • The event is not being conducted for commercial purposes, but money may be collected to support the religious, charitable or nonprofit organization
  • The participants at the event shall be informed that neither the food nor the facilities have been inspected by the state or a local public health department

A business establishment dealing in the sale of food may not sponsor a potluck event. Additionally, food from the potluck event shall not be brought into the kitchen of a business establishment dealing in the sale of food. It is important to note that under the law, participants at the event must be informed that neither the food nor the facilities have been inspected by the state or by a local public health agency for the event to qualify as a “potluck event” and be exempt from regulation DPH or by any LBOH.  Participants do not have to be members of the sponsoring organization for the event to be considered a “potluck event.”

Private Events 

A private event is open only to an inclusive group, such as family, neighbors, or friends meeting over a shared meal.  No fees may be charged, and the event is not advertised or open to the public.