ATLANTA— The Georgia House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would allow non-profits to sell food for short-term periods without needing a food service permit. The measure, House Bill 101, passed 162-0 on Tuesday, February 12.
“Churches and other nonprofit organizations throughout the state are trying to hold bake sales and other similar fundraisers, but are getting caught in a state permit requirement that is meant for restaurants,” said Rep. Bubber Epps (R-Dry Branch, who introduced the measure. “This legislation will make it easier for non-profit organizations to hold weekend fundraisers without having to deal with the hassle of obtaining a food service permit.”
Under current Georgia law, all “food service establishments” must have a food service permit to operate. The legal definition of “food service establishment” includes restaurants, coffee shops, cafeterias, short order cafes, taverns, and other similar public and private institutions. While this current law exempts food sold at a fair or festival, it does not exempt similar short-term events.
HB 101 would exempt any event sponsored by a nonprofit organization or a government entity that lasts for 120 hours or less from the current statutory definition of “food service establishment.” This exemption would mean that nonprofit organizations no longer need to obtain a food service permit from the state before selling food at events lasting five days or less. Nonprofit organizations would, however, still have to comply with all local government permitting requirements.
For more information about HB 101, please click here.