Originally Posted by cynfulsmokersbbq
This has been about 6 years ago now, but at the time there was a BBQ rub store in the Burlington (ia) mall. One time the owner provided me all the meat and a boat load of rubs to cook, and then distribute. I also did a cooking demonstation about ribs. I contacted the Des Moines County HD, and because the food was being given away and no $$$'s were being charged, I didn't even need to have a temporary permit.
Again this was years ago, and since then I have a mobile food kitchen that is fully licensed and compliant so I haven't really followed the law since then.
I will say that HD codes in Iowa are tightening.
I believe you will find that things have changed. Here in KS the controlling factor is not tied to any food being "sold" (it was in past years just as cynfulsmokersbbq states). It is now tied to food "changing hands". This is due to almost all States/municipalities adopting Federal USDA guidelines in the the re-writing of their regs in the past few years.
Each State/municipality is different so a call to your local HD will be the best way to verify.
This is not one of those situations where it is "best to beg forgiveness after rather than ask permission before".