Grisel Saenz, Environmental Health Supervisor
512-978-0300, option 5
Charitable Feeding Organizations (CFO)
A Charitable Feeding Organization (CFO) is a food enterprise that provides food without charge, that solicits, warehouses, and redistributes edible food to persons who feed needy individuals and is operated by a civic or fraternal organization, charity, lodge, association, proprietorship or corporation possessing a 501(C) exemption under the Internal Revenue Code; or religious organizations meeting the definition of “church” under the Internal Revenue Code, §170(b)(1)(A)(I). The term includes but is not limited to food pantries, central food banks, soup kitchens, community kitchens, and nonprofit food delivery services. A charitable feeding organization is designated as one of four categories in accordance with this section 10- 3- 100 (A) in the City of Austin (ONLY):
Category 1: A charitable feeding organization that distributes only shelf-stable food and uncut produce.
Category 2: A charitable feeding organization that distributes and may portion commercially prepared and packaged time-temperature-controlled-for-safety foods; or
Category 3: A charitable feeding organization that heats, and/or portions commercially prepared foods that are time-temperature controlled for safety for same-day service or delivery.
Category 4: A charitable feeding organization that cooks, cools and warms foods that are time-temperature controlled for safety for same-day or future service or delivery, including but not limited to community kitchens and soup kitchens.
This program works with operators of CFO’s to ensure food safety. All CFO’s are split into categories based on the level of food safety risk posed to the public. Upper-level CFO’s will undergo a routine inspection 1 to 3 times per year to ensure that safety standards are met and that staff/ volunteers are properly trained and credentialed.
CFO Self-guided Category Determination
CFO Category 1
- Types of Food Allowed: Only prepackaged non-TCS* foods, beverages in closed containers, whole uncut fruits and vegetables, canned foods and packaged grains.
- Limited Service: No open food handling. Storage of shelf stable foods and uncut produce only.
- Requirements: Must register for a CFO Category 1, Follow the “Best Management Practices”, and no routine inspections are required. Complete the CFO General Application.
CFO Category 2
- Types of Food Allowed: All pre-packaged TCS* foods allowed, minimal handling of open foods, and reproportioning of foods allowed.
- Limited Service: Distributes and portions commercially prepared/ packaged TCS* Foods and requiring minimal handling of open food.
- Requirements: Must register for a CFO Category 2, Follow the “Best Management Practices”, Food Handlers Certificate(s) and annual routine inspections are required. Complete the CFO General Application.
CFO Category 3
- Types of Food Allowed: All TCS* foods allowed, preparing hot or cold TCS* foods onsite for same-day service only.
- Limited Service: Heats and/or portions commercially prepared TCS* foods for same-day service.
- Requirements: Must apply for a CFO Category 3 Food Permit. Fees waived. A pre-opening inspection and routine inspections are required, a registered Food Manager Certificate and Food Handlers Certificate(s) required. Complete the CFO General Application.
CFO Category 4
- Types of Food Allowed: All TCS* foods allowed. Preparing hot or cold TCS* foods onsite allowed.
- Full Service: A full-service community kitchen and soup kitchen that cooks, cools and warms foods that are TCS* foods for same-day, future or delivery service.
- Requirements: Must apply for a CFO Category 4 Food Permit. Fees waived. A pre-opening inspection and routine inspections are required, a registered Food Manager Certificate and Food Handlers Certificate(S) required. Complete the CFO General Application.
*TCS = Time or Temperature Controlled for Safety Foods (i.e. meat, dairy, cut melons, cooked vegetables, etc.)
All food establishment, mobile, and temporary event permits (all categories) are fee exempt for CFOs in the City of Austin. Other EHSD Fees may apply such as Plan Review, Late Fee, Re-inspection Fee, Mobile Fire Inspection Fee, etc.
Pre-opening Inspection Request: For Category 3 and 4 Only
Pre-Opening Inspection - This inspection is required to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy after a new or remodeled construction to ensure the approved plans were followed, or before the ownership of an establishment is transferred to another entity or individual. The facility must pass this inspection before a permit can be issued.
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To address a concern or request a second opinion regarding an inspection result or complaint, contact us at 512-978-0300 between 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday - Friday.
Environmental Health Services Division - http://austintexas.gov/department/environmental-health-services
Office of Sustainability - http://austintexas.gov/department/sustainability
Austin/Travis County Food Policy Board - http://austintexas.gov/page/austin-travis-county-food-policy-board
Austin Water Utility/Industrial Waste Control - Pretreatment - https://www.austintexas.gov/department/industrial-waste-control-pretreatment
The EHSD Fee Schedule for FY2021 can be found on EHSD's main page and here.
September 24, 2021