Dallas, Texas
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Code Compliance Services
Restaurant and Bar Inspection Division  |  Homeless Feeding

The City of Dallas would like to thank those who take part in the charitable act of providing food for the homeless. To ensure the safety of the providers, the food, and the recipients of the food; the City of Dallas Food Ordinance has expanded to include those who feed the homeless. It is now a requirement for those distributing food to the homeless to register and become certified in a Food Handler’s Class. This class is free of charge and will help individuals to prepare, store, and distribute food to homeless individuals safely.

Chapter 17-1.6 “Food Establishments” of the Dallas City Code states:

  1. A church, civic, or other charitable organization serving or distributing food, without charge, to homeless individuals on public or private property, provided that the organization:
    • Was conducting that activity at a location approved by the director.
    • Had written consent from the property owner to conduct that activity on the property.
    • Was currently registered with the director (on a form provided by the director that is required to be completed on an annual basis) to conduct that activity on the property.
    • Conducted the activity in accordance with all terms and conditions of the registration as required by the director.
    • Had met annual training requirements for safe food handling.
    • A person commits an offense if he/she violates, or fails to comply with, a term or condition of homeless feeding registration issues pursuant to section 17-1.6(a)(5).

What is the ordinance really saying? Food/Meal Providers are required to:

  1. Register annually
  2. Take the Food Safety Training annually.
  3. Feed in a location that is approved by the city, personal property, or a location with written consent of the owner.

Provisions for Feeding the Homeless

Types of Food to be Served

  1. No potentially hazardous food may be served to the homeless, unless the food has been stored at a temperature of a. 41°F. (5°C) or below; or 135°F. (57°C) or above.
  2. Food Safety Class
    1. At least one person who attended the Annual Food Safety Training Class must be present at all times that food is being served to the homeless.
  3. Standards for Food Preparation and Transport
    1. Food must be transported and served within four hours of preparation.
    2. Food must be transported in a clean conveyance.
  4. Hand Washing
    1. Where non-prepackaged food is served to the homeless, a hand washing facility must be provided for persons preparing and serving the food.
    2. A five-gallon container with a spigot that provides free-flowing water and a catch bucket may be used if a fixed hand washing facility is not available.
    3. Soap and individual paper towels must be available for hand washing in accordance with Section 17-9.2 (f) (4) of the Dallas City Code.
  5. Wastewater
    1. All wastewater generated must be disposed of properly at your place of business or in a sanitary sewer in accordance with Section 17.9-2 (f)(2)(C) of the Dallas City Code.
  6. Trash
    1. The feeding site must be left in a clean, waste free condition.
    2. Trash must be disposed of properly in garbage bags or trash receptacles and removed from site.
  7. Restroom Facilities
    1. Portable toilets or other restroom facilities for the homeless and for persons preparing and serving food to the homeless must be provided.

Homeless Feeder Food Safety Training Class

  • Classes are held monthly and are free of charge
  • Those who hold a current RFSM Certificate (Registered Food Service Manager) are exempt from the class.
  • Covers basic principles of food safety and Homeless Feeder Ordinance Requirements
  • Requires annual registration
  • Learning objectives of the class include
    • Food safety
    • Food handler responsibilities
    • Personal hygiene
    • Foodborne Illnesses
    • Preventing contamination
    • Proper Hot & Cold Holding
    • Cleaning and sanitizing
    • Food protection and storage
    • Foodborne Illnesses
    • Temporary hand wash setup
    • Proper disposal of wastewater

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why was there a need for an amendment to the Food Ordinance?

There was a need for partnering and sharing information with food providers about the social services agencies available for the homeless community. Those agencies include services for the mental health, substance abuse, AIDS, domestic violence, and for men, women, and children and to provide quality safe food training.

2. How do I Register?

Registration occurs when you attend a Food Safety Training course provided by the Restaurant and Bar Inspection Division Professional Sanitarians.

3. What is Food Safety Training and how do I sign up for it?

The Food Safety Training course covers safety in food preparation, bacteria associated with food, unsafe foods and sanitary practices in cooking area. Please call
(214) 670-8083 for class dates and training location.

4. How much does the Food Safety Training class cost?

The class if free of charge.

5. What verifies registration? What proof do I need when I am providing meals?

At the Food Safety Training Class you will fill out a Food Safety Training Registration form. At the end of the class you will be given the original copy of the form. Your copy is to be kept with you while you are providing meals for your proof of registration. Two weeks after completion of the Food Safety Training class a certificate of completion will be mailed to you. This is also used as proof of registration and is to be kept with you while you are providing meals.

6. What types of food may I serve?

Foods that are prepackaged, require little preparation/handling, potentially hazardous food may be served if stored at the appropriate temperature. We are not trying to restrict your menu, but make suggestions.

The Purpose of these requirements is to prevent food borne illness and protect the public health by assisting individuals and organizations in using safe techniques when storing, preparing, and serving foods.

Provisions for Feeding the Homeless Brochure (PDF)
Meal Provider Program Sites (PDF)


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