Catering, Direct Sales Catering, Host Facilities



Expanded Food Service Options at Local Breweries, Wineries and other Commercial Establishments


On January 14, 2017 an ordinance to increase food service options at breweries, wineries, and other commercial establishments went into effect.  The Board of Supervisors approved this ordinance based on information gathered during a pilot study of food service at wineries and breweries. 

Below is a summary of the modifications made to the catering food safety program:

  • Establishing a new food service permit option for a Host Facility and Direct Sales Caterers, who work in conjunction to ensure food safety. For example, a facility such as a brewery, winery or another commercial establishment permitted as a Host Facility would supply needed infrastructure onsite for a Direct Sales Caterer to be able to sell their food.  The Host facility would provide access to potable hot and cold water, approved sinks for warewashing, hand washing and mopping, electricity to power portable mechanical refrigeration equipment, and a commercial restroom. Host facilities would be subject to plan check requirements and an annual inspection.

  • Caterers engaged in direct sales catering would be required to meet all requirements that apply to private event caterers; additionally, they would also need to provide mechanical refrigeration for potentially hazardous foods that must be kept cold, and provide an approved handwashing station in their food preparation area. They would also be required to discard prepared potentially hazardous foods at the end of the operational period, unless maintained at 41°F or below for the duration of the event. A direct sales caterer would also be able to conduct traditional catering to private events (a traditional private event catering permit would not be needed in addition to a direct sales catering permit.) Inspections of Direct Sales Caterers will take place at their commissary and in the field.

  • The ordinance also re-establishes a County Code basis for the private event catering program that DEH now administers based on permits, inspections, and administrative standards.  Observations made during the pilot study suggest there is an opportunity to revise the existing catering program to enhance food safety practices and protect public health. Under the existing catering program, permittees are subject to inspections at their approved commissary, the location where food is prepared. The modernized catering program will include inspections at the commissary, as well as in the field, so that the food safety practices of caterers can be evaluated where food is prepared and served. Other changes include submitting standard operating procedures to DEH, which will be added to each caterer's file, ensuring all foods are held and prepared in closed compartments until served, keeping food service records after each event for 90 days, and providing food safety instructions when only delivering and not serving food. 

Please note that the Host Facility and Direct Sales Catering permits are additional options for food service - not a requirement.  To see all food service options for breweries and wineries, access the links below:

Catering Publications

    Catering Ordinance Clean Version: PDF

    County News Center: Article
    Catering Pilot Study Findings and Recommendations: PDF
    Commissary Letter of Agreement Form: PDF
    Food Options at Breweries and Urban Wineries: PDF
    Food Options at Unincorporated Wineries: PDF
    Host Facility Requirements for Breweries: PDF
    Host Facility Plan Check Flow Chart: PDF
    Plan Check Consultation Application: PDF
    Host Facility Plan Submittal Guidance and Checklist: PDF
    Direct Sales Catering - Standard Operating Procedures Worksheet: PDF

    If you would like to know more about these changes or submit comments on the proposal, please contact Heather Buonomo at (858) 505-6851 or at