Food Service Permits

Food Permit Requirements

In order to expedite the processing of your food permit application, please make sure that all necessary paperwork and fees are submitted, and that it's submitted no less than 30 days prior to when your event or licensing period begins.  The following additional documentation is required for permit applications to be deemed complete:

  • 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; and
  • if you are a stationary food establishment with >25 seats, an employee trained in anti-choking procedures must be on-site during all food service hours and a copy of their certification must be included with your application; and
  • a copy of your menu and/or detailed description of menu items

Food establishments should also check with the Planning Board, Building Inspector, Selectmen's Office, and Fire Department for pre-operational requirements. New food establishments are required to also submit the Plan Review Guide and appear before the Board of Health at a public meeting for final approval. 

Please see below if you are planning a special event.  Temporary or mobile vendors must also submit copies of your permit to operate issued by your base city/ town and/ or a letter of agreement from your commissary.

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; and
  • 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.”  The Bourne Health Department requests an acknowledgement form be signed by the event coordinator prior to the event, and submitted to the office.

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.  

Temporary Food Permits

A temporary food establishment is a food establishment that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration.  These types of events require a permit and inspection from the Bourne Health Department.  There may be restrictions on the type of operations allowed.

Permits for Caterers

A Caterer is a person who prepares food intended for individual portion service, transports and serves it at another location, or who prepares and serves food at a food establishment, other than one for which he holds a permit, for service at a single meal, party or similar gathering.  Caterers which have their base of operations at a food establishment in the Town of Bourne, are required to obtain a food permit from the Bourne Board of Health.  Regardless of the location of the business, each caterer is required to submit a notification form to the Bourne Health Department prior to or within 72 hours after serving a meal in the Town of Bourne.

Mobile Food Operations

Mobile food operations may be annual, seasonal, or temporary and are required to obtain a mobile food permit from the Bourne Health Department.  There may be additional requirements and restrictions imposed to protect against health hazards related to the conduct of the specific mobile food operation. 

Please do not hesitate to contact the Health Inspectors at 508-759-0600 ext. 1513 with any questions you may have or visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's website:

Allergen Awareness Training

Certified Food Protection Manager