Some non-profit organizations that serve or sell food to the public are granted some exemptions within the food regulations, COMAR 10.15.03, and are referred to as excluded organizations. “Excluded organization” means a volunteer fire company or bona fide nonprofit fraternal, civic, war veteran’s, religious, or charitable organization or corporation that does not serve food to the public more often than four (4) days per week, except that once a year an organization may serve food to the public for up to fourteen (14) consecutive days. A non-profit organization that operates five (5) days or more a week does not qualify for the exemption, and must comply with COMAR 10.15.03 in its entirety. Excluded organizations are still inspected by the Health Department, but are not issued food service facility licenses. Facilities that qualify for the exemption may choose to be licensed; however, they will be required to comply with the complete set of food regulations, when licensed. For additional information on these exemptions, refer to COMAR 10.15.03.11, Excluded Organizations.
The Health Department has separate forms for non-profit facilities to complete, either for licensure, or to be included in our database as an exempted facility. Licensed facilities must complete the Application for License to Operate a Food Service Facility, and excluded facilities must complete the Data Information Sheet for Non-Profit Non-Licensed Food Service Facility.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Outbreak Response and the Center for Food Protection has issued specific guidelines for the prevention of foodborne and waterborne outbreaks for non-profit organizations who operate as “excluded organizations”. Visit http://www.edcp.org/guidelines/excluded.html to view those guidelines.