Mobile and Transient Retail Food Establishment

A transient retail food establishment is a food establishment that operates at a fixed location in conjunction with a special event and sells or serves food for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days or in conjunction with an occasional sales promotion.


License types are determined by the food activities and sales of the retail rood establishment.

  • Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food (TCS): Formerly known as “potentially hazardous food,” TCS requires time/temperature control for safety to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation.
  • Processing: Includes repackaging, heating, slicing, opening a package, or altering a food in any way.
  • Meal: Food that is ordered, prepared for, or served to a customer with or without a beverage and is obtained from the retail food establishment in a ready-to-eat form with the expectation of immediate consumption, although consumption may occur at a different location.
  • Non-Meals: Beverages such as soft drinks, coffee, juices Ice cream, milk and milk drinks, ices, confections, grab-and-go packaged foods whether cold or from a hot case, deli case items sold by weight or volume, bakery items (breads, cakes, pastry, donuts, cookies, pie), and single-bite sized free food samples or an equivalent portion given away to demonstrate the characteristics of food.


Important Prerequisites for Licensing

  • Most establishments must have at least one operator or manager certified in food handling before obtaining a restaurant license. 

    • For establishments with less than 5 food handlers, only a manager holding a license for Food Safety Training for Small Operators is required. 

    • Temporary restaurants are exempt from this requirement. 

    • Simple food establishments that serve only single service, individual, already pre-wrapped foods from a licensed food distributor or serve/sell only non-potentially hazardous foods are also exempt from this requirement. 

    • For a full list of exemption details and requirements for managers certified in food handling as well as a list of certifications accepted by the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection follow this link to the DATCP’s website. 


Obtaining Licenses

Follow these steps to work towards obtaining a food license:

  • Review the Transient Food licensing packet links, to the left.
  • Contact the following:
  1. TOWN: Contact the Township, Village, or City for any local requirements regarding conditional use or zoning permits that may be required.
  2. COUNTY ZONING: Contact Rusk County Land Conservation & Development at 715-532-2156 to determine if a land use permit must be submitted.
  3. WELL/WATER TESTING: If a private well is present, the well must be constructed, maintained and operated according to NR812. The water must also be tested annually for coliform and nitrates. (This will be evaluated during your annual health inspection.
  4. Complete the Rusk County License Application - Mobile and Transient Retail Food Establishment, which can be found on our Mobile and Transient Food Establishment page.
  • Submit your completed application with the required license fee(s) to our office.
  • Contact our Environmental Health Specialist, at (715) 532-2299 to schedule an onsite inspection based on the scope of rules in DATCP 75. Provide a copy of your water sample results, the completed Retail Food license application and pay the required license fees, if not done previously.


License Duration

  • Licenses are valid from July 1st of one year to June 30th the following year. 
  • Licenses granted on or after April 1st will extend to June 30th of the following year (rather than expiring on June 30th of the year the license was issued). 
  • Licenses expire June 30th of each year. 
  • Renewal fees for existing establishments shall be submitted to Public Health before June 30 each year.
  • Licenses are non-transferrable. If ownership changes, a new license must be attained.


  • There is a copy of the General Food Establishment Plan Review Guidelines listed in the Documents section below to assist establishments in meeting pre-review or inspection requirements and plan approval. You can reference this document while preparing your establishment for the licensing process. 
  • There is also a copy of the Wisconsin Food Processing and Food Sales Requirements, which contains many of the requirements for obtaining a food processing or restaurant/retail license.