Hot Mess Hall!

Getting a Food Permit:

There sure is a mess of red tape tangled around the Playa! This tutorial gives you the basics to get your camp’s kitchen or food gift permitted and sanitary.

We strip it down to the DIY essentials:

  • Food Permit Applications Due in Mid-August

  • Do you need a Food Permit?

  • Serving alcoholic drinks to the public: NO

  • Serving non-alcoholic drinks to the public: YES

    • With a few exceptions: Powdered drink mixes, with no ice or dairy, do not require a permit (ie KoolAid from a packet)

  • Serving food to the public: YES

    • With a few exceptions, individually wrapped, shelf-stable food or drink items—do not require a permit; ie bag of chips, candy bars)

    • Whole un-cut fruit: NO permit.

    • Individually wrapped, mass produced popsicles, ice creams bars, etc: NO permit.

  • Making food for your own small camp: NO

  • Making food for large camp meals (125+ people): YES

If you have a YES above, don’t freak out! We can get you through it. It’s not hard if you break it into small pieces. Your project is awesome and will be well-worth the permit. Click for Hand-Wash and Dish-Wash DIY guides.

Camp Sink.jpg

Before you start the Permit, make a solid plan for what you want to serve, when (days and times), and how you’ll purchase and prep the food. Read this tutorial first to get an idea what they ask for. If you’re not sure how to build your handwash station, go to our Parts Page for tips.

** Some people think the Food Permit is silly. Some people swear it’s the only thing between you and 80,000 cases of dysentery. We’re not here to debate the merit of the permit. This is a Tutorial on GETTING SHIT DONE! 

Burning Man’s Official Food Permit Page:

It helps to open this tutorial on your phone or tablet, then pull up the permit below on your computer—go through the permit with the tutorial on your phone by your side.

Start on the NV Health Department Permit Page:

Ignore all the top stuff, just scroll down to the B-Man section


Click at the bottom to “Access A New Application”:

Choose “Environmental Health” from the dropdown menu:


From there, you can download the instructional page as a PDF:

Just proceed by clicking to “Apply for Temporary Food Permit” in the lower left sidebar:


Set up your account info and password, and click through the pages. It doesn’t matter what “risk category” you insert so just click “Low”.


To continue, you must click “ADD” and insert you food service times and dates. It’s best if you have this info already decided.


Keep going, then enter your Camp’s info. When it asks for County, put Pershing.


From here, it gets scary. Don’t freak out! We have helpful tips below:


They ask for a lot, but take it step by step. We’ve given some draft answers below. Please make the text your own:

1. List all sources for potable water to be used for cooking, drinking, or washing at your event.

  • Drinking water will be hauled to the event in 5-gallon sealed jugs (ie Arrowhead water jugs) purchased from Reno WalMart or Community Water System.  

  • We will bring XX food-grade plastic containers of XX gallon capacity, filled from XX: Gerlach Water District source on the way into the event. All our jugs will be sanitized before filing up.

  • Cooking water will use the same sources as the drinking water. Wash water will use the same sources as the drinking water.

2. How will you set up your dishwashing station? See the guidance documents for recommended set-ups.

  • Dishwashing station will be set up according to the 3-basin setup on a long folding table. Basin 1 will be hot soapy water. Basin 2 will be a rinse tub. Basin 3 will be a sanitizer tub.  

  • Sanitizer basin will use liquid chlorine bleach, 2 teaspoons of bleach per 1 gallon of water (approx 100 ppm) will be used in the Sanitizer tub.

  • Basins will be dumped and fresh hot water, soap, and sanitizer bleach replaced every hour, or more often as needed.

  • Sanitizer will be tested with Bartovation Chlorine Sanitizer Test Strips (test range from 10 – 200 ppm) . Dishes will sit in the sanitizer for at least 1 minute. Sanitizer water will be tested with the strips to ensure the chlorine concentration is approx 100 ppm. If less than 50 ppm, more bleach will be added. If over 200 ppm, more water will be added to achieve the correct ppm. Staff will be trained to use sanitizer and test strips.

  • DIY Dish station and Sanitizer parts

3. What type(s) of thermometer(s) will you be using? See guidance documents for the thermometers appropriate for different uses.

  • We will use stem/probe thermometer with range from 0 to 220F to test hot water and separate stem thermometers for hot food. We will use Clorox sanitizing wipes to clean the thermometer before and after each use, and rinse with fresh water spray bottle.

  • We will use a refrigerator thermometer in each cooler to ensure continuous cool temperature below 41 F.

  • Playa-Ready Thermometers.

4. Describe how you will set up your sanitize buckets or spray bottles. What type of sanitizer will you use? Will you have test strips, and what kind?

  • We will use sanitizing spray bottles for clean up. We will use liquid chlorine bleach added in a ratio of 1 teaspoon per gallon of water for spray bottles. The concentration will be tested with test strips to ensure concentration is approx 100 ppm. If lower, more bleach will be added . If higher than 200, more water will be added to achieve the proper ppm around 100 ppm.

  • Spray bottles will be clearly labeled: Bleach Water, do not drink.

  • We will use paper towels to wipe down surface and throw them away after each use. We will not re-use cloth towels.

  • Camp members will be trained on proper food handling and cleanup techniques.

  • Spray Bottles and Sanitizers

5. How will you handle and dispose of waste water at your camp?

  • Waste water from dish station will be dumped into a XX gallon tank that is clearly marked “GRAY WATER, DO NOT DRINK” and hauled out at the end of the event. We have XX containers prepared for this use.

  • (Or outside service contract info).

  • Waste water from Handwash station is drained into used 5-Gallon water jugs, which will be capped, with duct tape over the cap and labelled ‘Gray water, Do Not Drink”. The jugs will be hauled out at the end of the event.

  • Easy DIY Hand-Wash Station

6. How will you handle trash, recyclables, and other solid waste at your camp?

  • We have separate bins for trash and recyclables and aluminum cans.

  • We use heavy duty contractor trash-bags and tie-off the bags when full. We store full bags out of the sun on top of a tarp, and then haul out in our trucks.

7. Have you saved a copy of the Burning Man Self-Inspection Checklist?

Burning Man Self-Inspection Checklist

8. Have you read the 2018 Burning Man Food Service Guidance Document?

2018 Burning Man Food Service Guidance Document

 9. Have you read and do you understand NAC 446.630 - 446.669: Temporary Events Regulations?

NAC 446.630 - 446.669: Temporary Events Regulations

 4. Have you ever applied for a Temporary Event Permit? If so under what facility name, what event and what was the last event date.

3. Are food or drinks to be served at this event? If yes, please list all food and drinks below. If needed, attach full list to the end of this application.

6. Are you transporting foods to the event? If yes, state how these foods will be transported.

  • Food will be transported in its original packaging from the grocery store, within coolers with block and cube ice (at 41F degrees max) to bring into the event. Ice will be drained and replaced regularly to ensure continuous cool. Fridge thermometers will be placed in each food cooler to check temp.

7. You must purchase all foods or ingredients from a permitted retail or wholesale food establishment. List each grocery store, club store or other location where you will be purchasing food. If more space is needed, attach a full list at the end of this application.

  • Reno Walmart

  • Costco

  • Etc

8. Are you holding food cold? If yes, state how food will be maintained at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or less. List the equipment to be used.

  • Yes, cold food (hot dogs and condiments) will be transported in then original packaging from the grocery store, placed within closed tupperware containers, and held within coolers with block and cube ice (at 41F degrees max) to bring into the event. Ice will be drained and replaced regularly to ensure continuous cool. Fridge thermometers will be placed in each food cooler to check temp

9.         Are you reheating food? If yes, what temperature will you reheat food to? ___ degrees F

  • Yes. Hot dogs will be grilled to at least 135F

 9.          Are you cooling any cooked food for later service? If yes, how do you intend to cool the food? Note that you must receive advance approval to cool foods, and must strictly comply with instructions on cooling from DPBH-EHS.

  • No.  (additional requirements If you intend to do this. Best to just do NO.

9.          Are you cooking foods at the event? If yes, state at what temperatures food will be cooked. List the cooking equipment to be used.

  • Yes. We will use a propane powered coleman camp stove with 2 burners. We will use a large metal kettle to boil water and a large metal frying pan to grill hot dogs.

  • Hot dogs will be grilled to reach at least 135F, as tested by probe thermometer.

  • Camp members will use clean tongs to rotate food on the grill.

  • Camp members will wear rubber gloves when preparing and serving food.

 9          Are you cooking eggs? If yes, what temperature will you cook eggs to? ___ degrees F

  • 145 F

9          Are you cooking fish? If yes, what temperature will you cook fish to? ___ degrees F

  • 145 F

9          Ae you cooking beef? If yes, what temperature will you cook beef to? ___ degrees F

  • 145 F

9          Are you cooking poultry? If yes, what temperature will you cook poultry to? ___ degrees

  • 165F

10        Are you holding food hot? If yes, state how food will be maintained at 135 degrees Fahreinheit or above. List equipment to be used.

  •  NO. Food will be served immediately as it comes off the Coleman stove.

11        Are you preparing any food off-site? If yes, state where the food will be prepared.

  •  NO                 

 12        Is this off-site location a pemitted food establishment? If yes, tell us what food establishment. Please state the name of the establishment and provide the permit number. If the establishment does not hold a permit with the State of Nevada Division of Public & Behavioral Health, please attach a copy of the current permit and most recent inspection report at the end of this application.

  •  NA

13        Will the booth have a dedicated hand washing set up? If yes, describe the hand washing set up.

  • YES. The handwashing station will follow the guidance document.

  • The handwash station will be set up first. We have a modified camp sink with an operable foot pump. The foot pump allows free-flow of water and both hands are free to soap and later. The soap dispenser is integrated. A paper-towel rack is attached with PVC and bungee cord.

  • The handwash station holds 5-gallons of water. We add 2 pots of boiling water to room temp potable water to make it warm.

  • The handwash station drains into a separate 5-gallon receptacle. When the receptable is full, it’s time to refill the water supply and install another empty receptable.

  • The sink station is labelled “HAND WASH ONLY” and “Wash for 20 seconds”. Camp members are trained to operate and refill the handwash station.


You will have to pay a $50 registration fee online. The online application will ask you to attach any additional documents that may apply to your camp.

Once you’re finished, the Health Department will start to review your info. You should get an email notice, but you also HAVE TO PICK UP YOUR PERMIT ON-PLAYA at PLAYA INFO. Print your email notice and bring it with you.

You’ll post a copy of the permit in your camp kitchen.

Other Things To Prepare:

Your camp should have hair ties, rubber gloves, tongs, hand-sanitizer solution, paper towels, trash bins, and sanitizing wipes on hand at several locations in your food service area.

You may be inspected. Be cool! Your inspector is there to help.

Train your staff to use the sanitizer and handwash station. Key facts to remember:

  • 145 F for most meats

  • 165 F for chicken

  • 41 F or colder for coolers

  • 100 ppm for chlorine sanitizer

Thanks for tackling this! We all love the gift of food on the Playa. You are amazing for going through these extra paces to bring a special treat.

Easy Links

Our parts page has sanitizing equipment and a pre-fab hand-washing station that’s easy! We emailed with the NV Health Department and confirmed that this setup is approved for Burning Man.