Guidelines for Competition Barbeques

Authorized By Section 8-104.1 (A) of the Columbia Food Code


  • The event organizer must contact the Health Department at least 48 hours before the event to obtain a permit. The Health Department will need information about the event, including the number and names of barbeque competitors.
  • Each competitor / operation must be inspected before food is served. A single permit will be issued to the event organizer and is valid only for the planned event.
  • A City of Columbia Temporary Business License is needed. The license is valid for a maximum of 14 days and can be obtained at the City Business License Office located at 725 E. Broadway.
  • The event organizers must designate someone as “Food Safety Officer”. This person, through work experience or education, must be able to demonstrate knowledge of food safety issues.

Food Safety Requirements:

  • All meats must come from an approved inspected source.
  • All meat must be inspected by the designated “Food Safety Officer”.
  • All meat must be stored at or below 41 degrees F prior to cooking.
  • All meat shall be cooked on a covered grill or smoker.
  • For the event, only meat may be offered to judges. Any side dishes, such as coleslaw or potato salad must follow the rules for temporary food facilities.
  • Once cooked, all meat must be covered to protect it from insects.
  • Meat must be held at 140 degrees F. If time is to be used as a public health control, written procedures must be instituted and records must be available to the Health Authority. Meats may be held a maximum of 4 hours without maintaining the 140-degree temperature. Any meat leftover after 4 hours will be disposed of immediately.
  • The “Food Safety Officer” shall monitor the event to insure and promote food safety compliance.
  • Hand washing stations must be strategically located so each participant has convenient access. Each hand washing station must be equipped with soap & paper towels. A container with a minimum of 5 gallons of water from an approved source may be used. Containers must have a spigot that will supply water until turned off (No push buttons). A method of providing hot water is encouraged.
  • Wastewater must be collected in a container and properly disposed of.

Public Food Event VS Private Food Event

A permit from the Health Department is required for:

  • Any event open to the public where food is provided unless the exceptions below apply.

A permit from the Health Department is not required for:

  • An establishment that offers only prepackaged non-potentially hazardous foods.
  • A produce stand that offers only whole, uncut fruits and vegetables.
  • A kitchen in a private home if only food that is non-potentially hazardous is prepared for sale or service as part of a not-for profit event. Examples include a religious on non-profit organization having a bake sale.
  • A closed event, with only invited guests. The public must not be able to attend, without invitation. Examples of closed events include religious gatherings involving members of a church, weddings parties, family reunions, or company picnics.
  • A private kitchen of a family day care facility, or a bed and breakfast facility limited to 4 bedrooms or less.