1062 State Route 38
Owego, NY 13827

Main Phone:
(607) 687-8564
(607) 687-6041

Food Safety Course



Here at Public Health, our goal is to prevent the public from foodborne illnesses. It is important to us to ensure food is properly stored and handled in a clean facility. Food workers must know the importance of handwashing, personal hygiene and temperature control of potentially hazardous foods.

We are happy to assist you through the permit process to get you up and operational as quickly as possible.

So you want to prepare & serve food in Tioga County?

Whether you are opening a new restaurant, serving food at a special event or a long-term restaurant owner there are a few things we look for. Contact us before you get started or make changes to the layout of your food establishment. We are available for all questions.

If you are looking to prepare and serve food in new construction or refurbished facility in Tioga County you must start with submitting a FOOD FACILITY PLAN REVIEW. This is the first step in having your facility approved for food service. Submit the completed form with the plan review fee to us and we will contact you for the next step.

In order to meet requirements, you must complete the PERMIT TO OPERATE application and keep it on file at your establishment. This must be completed and returned to us with your payment at least 30 days prior to your expected opening date. 

Our Food Course is helpful for everyone working in food service. We recommend having all new staff members review the course as part of their orientation. Complete the FOOD COURSE APPLICATION FORM to obtain a RED CARD showing that you have completed the course and quiz.

It is REQUIRED that one person onsite holds a valid RED CARD issued from us when food is being prepared and served.


Food Safety Course APPLICATION can be found here.

Food Safety Course QUIZ can be found here.  

For special events and celebrations that last no more than 14 consecutive days, a TEMPORARY FOOD PERMIT APPLICATION must be completed at least 10 days before the event.

Why are Food Service Permits required?

For the public’s safety, it is important to ensure that food is stored, prepared and served in a manner to prevent potential spread of bacteria.

What is a foodborne illness?

A food-borne illness may occur as a result of poor food preparation and service practices. One or many people may become ill, require hospitalization and possibly die as a result of a food-related illnesses. Older people and people with other illnesses may become severely ill when they eat food that has been contaminated, mishandled or improperly prepared and/or stored.

What is a Temporary Food Establishment?

A Temporary Food Establishment is one that serves food to the public at a fixed location for no more than fourteen (14) consecutive days duration. If the event is open or advertised to the public (with flyers, banners, newspaper articles, list servs, or any other means) a temporary food permit is required. The requirements do not change if the food is being sold for profit or provided at no charge. Temporary Food Service Permits are required by the New York State Sanitary Code, Part 14-2.

What events require temporary food permits?

Individuals or groups planning to hold events that are open to the public must obtain a permit. We requires that a temporary permit be obtained for each food booth operating during an event. When you hire a caterer, he/she must have a permit to operate in Tioga County (either a temporary permit or a restaurant permit with catering).

Examples of events that may require permits:

  • A fair, carnival, music event, or circus
  • Community celebrations
  • Public exhibitions
  • Sports events
  • Church events held off church property serving food to the public (Churches serving to the public more than once a week are required to obtain a year-round permit).
  • Fundraisers
  • Craft fairs
  • Open houses

What should I consider if I plan to do a temporary food service event?

Here are a few things to remember when doing special events:

  • All food served should require only limited preparation
  • All meats must be from a USDA approved source
  • There is to be no bare hand contact of ready-to-eat food
  • Hand wash facilities must be proved and used
  • There must be adequate means of wastewater disposal
  • Ice must be commercially bagged
  • There is to be stem-type thermometers to record food temperatures
  • All units and stands will be inspected for general cleanliness

How should you handle ready-to-eat foods?

Foods such as pastries, sliced pizza and sandwiches are to be handled with gloved hands or a utensil such as a tong. There is to be no bare hands handling foods that are already prepared and ready to eat.

Are there any events that DO NOT require temporary food permits?

Your event is not considered a temporary food service if the food is prepared or provided by members of a group for members of the group and their invited guests, such as:

  • A meeting or an event for a private or charitable organization, association, a fraternal group, or club
  • An activity in a church or other religious congregation for members
  • A gathering such as a party, picnic or potluck where food is shared.
  • Private weddings that do their own food preparation

Again, this only applies to the gathering if it is private. Any public advertisement of an event will mean a permit is required.

What about a bake sale?

A bake sale is not considered a temporary event as long as only dry baked goods, such as cookies, brownies, and cake, are offered. If you are offering baked goods with cream toppings, fillings, or pumpkin pie, a temporary permit is required.