Exempt from permit/Not a food establishment

Certain foods have been identified in the Washington Administrative Retail Food Code as exempt from requiring the purchase of a permit. There are also some foods that do not require the purchase of a permit because they do no meet the definition of a Food Establishment. More information on each of these categories provided below.

Notify us when you are serving or selling these food items that are Exempt from Permit or Not a Food Establishment.  Safe food handling practices are still required. 

What is exempt?

The following list of foods are exempt from the purchase of a food permit. All other code requirements apply. Notify us when you are serving or selling these food items. The event coordinator may require you to provide a Certificate of Review from our department.

  • popcorn and flavored popcorn
  • cotton candy
  • dried herbs and spices processed in an approved facility
  • Crushed ice drinks with no phf ingredients dispensed from a self-contained machine that makes its own ice (snow cones and shave ice are not included)
  • corn on the cob prepared for immediate service (not held hot)  
  • roasted nuts and roasted candy-coated nuts
  • chocolate-dipped ice cream bars prepared from pre-packaged ice cream bars produced in a USDA or WSDA food processing plant
  • chocolate-dipped bananas peeled and frozen in an approved facility 
  • individual samples of non-potentially hazardous sliced fruits and vegetables
  • whole and uncut fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole peppers roasted for immediate service
  • non-potentially hazardous baked goods (such as brownies, cookies and fruit pies) prepared and wrapped in a sanitary manner by a non-profit organization operating for religious, charitable or educational purposes AND with a sign, clearly visible to customers, stating that these items are prepared in a kitchen that is not inspected by Clark County Public Health

This list is subject to changes.  Check annually to ensure your food items still fall into this category. 

What is Not a Food Establishment?

The following food categories do not meet the definition of a Food Establishment. Safe food handling practices are still required. Notify us when you are serving or selling these food items. The event coordinator may require you to provide a Certificate of Review from our department.    

  • Foods that are not potentially hazardous, purchased/prepared in a licensed food establishment for re-sell in single use articles. Examples:
    • Bottled drinks
    • Packaged foods (chips, granola bars, pretzels)
    • Cookies, doughnuts, cake
    • Meat jerky
    • Hot beverages (coffee, hot tea or apple cider).  The use of dairy based coffee creamers requires a permit.
    • Dry foods that are not ready to eat (dry beans, dry grains, in-shell nuts, coffee beans, tea leaves, or herbs for tea).
    • Prepackaged frozen confections produced in a licensed food establishment.
  • Department of Agriculture permitted foods, that are not-potentially hazardous
  • Whole produce, un-cut
  • Non-potentially hazardous baked goods (such as brownies, cookies and fruit pies) prepared and wrapped in a sanitary manner by a non-profit organization operating for religious, charitable or educational purposes.  A sign, clearly visible to customers, stating that ‘These items are prepared in a kitchen that is not inspected by Clark County Public Health’ is required.

Learn more about Starting a Non-profit Organization in Washington State. More information for non-profits and charities can be found at the Secretary of State webpage.

Required forms

Both of the following are required to sell or serve food to the public that are exempt from permit.