Food Safety & Licensing

EH&S promotes food safety and helps prevent foodborne illness related to UW–Madison facilities and campus events through licensing, inspections, complaint investigation assistance, policy, guidance and training.

Temporary Food Event Permits

Apply at least 2 weeks before a scheduled campus event with prepared, handled &/or sold food by following these steps:

  1. Read campus Temporary Food Service policy and Temporary Food Stand requirements.
  2. Choose a licensed and insured food vendor/supplier. Look up vendors in Dane County or reach out to  See Section V. 3 of the Temporary Food Service policy for details on insurance.
  3. Reserve a space for the event and review facility use and insurance guidelines.
  4. Complete and submit the UW-Madison Temporary Food Service Application.  Email  for support.

Inspection Reports

Campus food establishment inspection reports are available online.

When reviewing an inspection report, please note current facility state may differ from reported practices from most recent inspection. Violations are identified as being in one of 3 categories of importance:

  • Priority Item: the most critical violation category. These practices are defined by the WI Food Code as: contributes directly to hazards associated with foodborne illness or injury.
  • Priority Foundation Item: a provision in the WI Food Code whose application supports, facilitates, or enables one or more priority items.
  • Core Item: the least critical violation category. These practices usually relate to general sanitation, operational controls, sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs), facilities or structures, equipment design, or general maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a temporary food stand?

A temporary food stand is a location where food is prepared, handled, and/or sold in conjunction with a special event, sales promotion, festival, or public exhibition.

When should I start planning for my temporary food event?

It is never too soon to start planning for your event. Your application needs to be submitted a minimum of two weeks prior to your event. You will need to know the following information to fill out your event application: date(s), location(s), approved food vendor(s)/where you getting your food from, person in charge of the event, and the number of people expected at your event.

Who needs prior authorization to serve or sell food on campus?

Anyone who will serve or sell any type of food on campus needs authorization from EOH and Risk Management. Some food types are exempt, please read the “Temporary Food Service Policy” for more information. If you are not sure if your event requires authorization, please fill out an application on EOH’s website and our staff will get back to you.

Who is required to obtain a temporary food license?

For-profit businesses selling food on campus owned or leased grounds in Dane County are required to obtain a temporary food license from EOH. The cost of a temporary food event license is $170 per fiscal year (July 1st–June 30th). Do you already have a Mobile or Temporary License from the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) or another local health department? Please email EOH a copy of your license(s). EOH accepts licenses granted by DATCP and other health departments with DATCP agent status. Food stands that already have a license from DATCP or another health department are subject to inspection by University EOH inspectors. Inspection fees may apply.

How do I know if my food vendor is “licensed”?

You may ask your food vendor to supply you with a copy of their “Retail Food Service” License from DATCP or their local health department. There are many acceptable food service license types. Some examples are:

  • Retail Food Service-Mobile
  • Retail Food Service-Not Serving Meals
  • Retail Food Service-Serving Meals
  • DATCP Food Processing License
  • Restaurant License
  • Mobile Food Cart License
  • Retail Food Store License

If you are unable to obtain a copy of the vendor’s license or unsure if a vendor’s license complies with UW’s requirements, please email for assistance.