Vaisakhi parade-goers enjoy food during last year's event. To serve snacks on public streets

Home-cooked food for Vaisakhi parade needs a health permit

Application must be submitted to Fraser Health 10-14 days before the April 18 event.

If you plan to make food for the Vaisakhi parade this year, you better get cooking early.

Private citizens and businesses wishing to serve home-made food to the public on commercial roadways along the parade route are required to fill out a temporary food premises permit application.

Erin Labbé, a spokeswoman for Fraser Health, said officials will be following the health authority’s enforcement protocols for the April 18 event.

“Sometimes at festivals, depending on the types of foods served and the duration of the event, enforcement can lead to immediate closures, based on risk,” Labbé said.

However, the food safety regulations don’t apply to people serving home-cooked meals on their own property along the parade route. This means if people are standing on their own front lawns erving their meals they are not at risk of being shut down.

Event participant Sarbjit Sabharwal and his family have been serving food during the parade for more than a decade and he said they apply for their permit every year.

As for how many people are aware of the need for the permit, he said he’s not too sure, but added “a fair amount do understand it.”

On the Surrey Vaisakhi Parade website, there’s a link for “Helpful Hints for Food Preparation” (http://www.surreyvaisakhiparade.ca/files/helpful-hints.php).

There’s information on hand washing and food storage, as well as how to properly sanitize working surfaces and clean cooking utensils, pots and pans.

The temporary food premises permit application is free and available on the Surrey Vaisakhi Parade’s website under the “Food Premises Application” tab. The application must be submitted 10 to 14 days prior to the parade.

This year’s Vaisakhi parade takes place on Saturday, April 18. It begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar temple at 12665 85 Ave. and runs until about 4 p.m.

Surrey’s parade is the second-largest outside of India and attracts upwards of 200,000 spectators.