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Washington County Environmental Health advises that temporary food service permits are required when providing certain food or drinks to the public, even when the food is free.

“With the cold weather and holidays upon us, there is an increase in food service offerings from holiday festivals, churches, shelters and feeding programs for those in need,” said Jon Kawaguchi, environmental health program supervisor for Washington County.

“We remind anyone who plans on providing food or beverages that permits are required when potentially hazardous food items are involved. This helps prevent the spread of foodborne illness.”

The term “potentially hazardous” means food that has to be kept at specific temperatures to minimize the growth of germs or to prevent the formation of toxins in the food, which can make people sick.

These include raw and cooked meat/poultry or foods containing meat/poultry, such as casseroles, curries and lasagna; dairy products; cut fruits and vegetables, salads, raw sprouts; cooked rice, beans or vegetables; foods containing eggs, beans, nuts or other protein-rich foods; foods that contain potentially hazardous food items, such as sandwiches and wraps; fish, shellfish and crustaceans; baked potatoes; mushrooms; tofu and soy-protein foods; and garlic-in-oil mixtures.

Citizens who have questions or are in need of clarification about whether their intended event is considered a public event or if the food or beverage to be provided is considered potentially hazardous may contact Washington County Environmental Health at 503-846-8722 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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