Food Regulatory & Licensing Agencies By State


If you are considering starting a new food business, you need to make sure if your idea is going to be allowed in your location. This is especially true if you are considering starting a home-based food business.

The food business regulations for some states are very complex and even knowing where to start learning is difficult and confusing.

The table below has a link to the primary food regulatory agency in each of the United States of America. If the good people running each of these agencies can’t answer your specific questions, they can get you to the agency or person who can answer those questions.

Contacting Agencies About Food Business Licensing

When dealing with a regulatory agency, your number one goal should be to be well mannered and appreciative. The people who are charged with doing these jobs are used to having a confrontational relationship with those they regulate. If you are different, they will treat you differently.

Also be patient and plan ahead. If your situation isn’t an emergency, it could take awhile to get the answers you need.

Call Or Email To Get Your Answers

I encourage you to first try email. Some people prefer to have time to answer and email gives them that. For you, you get the answer in writing which is much better than just having it told to you verbally. That written record might really help you in the future.

If you don’t get an email response within a week, then follow up with a phone call.

Regardless of how you are communicating, keep detailed notes. Every time you are in contact about your questions record: Date, Time, Name, Phone #/Email, and details of the conversation.

It will save you time later when you need to call with follow up questions if you can tell the next person you talk to exactly what has happened in the past.

Questions To Ask Before Starting A Home Based Food Business

Start by creating a written description of the business you want to start. Keep that description clear and concise. It should be a single paragraph and no more then 500 words.

Then list each question you need answered. While the answers to these questions might lead to new questions, first focus on getting all the basic questions answered.

  1. Can I start my business in my own home?
  2. If yes, are there any limits on where I can sell the products I produce?
  3. If yes, what permits and licenses do I need?
  4. If no, can I rent a commercial kitchen to start my business?
  5. Are there any resources you can point me towards which will help me in setting up my new business here in our state?

That’s a good start. Don’t bury this person with questions. While they work for the taxpayer, they don’t work specifically for you. Treat them like a mentor and potential friend, not like an employee.

Remember, be patient and expect this process to take a couple of weeks. You could probably push it through in a few days, but then the people who are charged with oversite of your business are going to remember you and how you acted from day-one.

You got this…enjoy the journey.

~Stacey

P.S. The table below is as accurate as I could establish, but it’s always being updated as departments, roles, rules, and just links change. If you find a broken link or find a better starting point, please contact me so we can update the table and provide better help.

This is not legal advice, just links to the lead home-based food business regulatory agency in each state in the United States of America.

Table Of Food Business License Departments By State

StateRegulatory Department
AlabamaAlabama Department of Public Health Division of Food
AlaskaAlaska Department of Environmental Conservation Food Safety & Sanitation
ArizonaArizona Department of Health Services Food Safety & Environmental Services
ArkansasArkansas Department of Health Food Protection
CaliforniaCalifornia Department of Public Health Food Safety
ColoradoColorado Department of Public Health & Environment Retail Food
ConnecticutConnecticut Department of Consumer Protection, Food and Standards
Connecticut Department of Public Health, Food Protection
DelawareDelaware Department of Health & Social Services Office of Food Protection
FloridaFlorida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Food Safety
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Florida Department of Health Food Hygiene
GeorgiaGeorgia Department of Agriculture Food Safety
Georgia Department of Public Health Food Service
HawaiiHawaii Department of Health Food Safety Division
IdahoIdaho Department of Health & Welfare Food Protection
IllinoisIllinois Department of Public Health Foods, Drugs & Dairies
IndianaIndiana Department of Health Food Protection Program
IowaIowa Department of Inspections Food & Consumer Safety
KansasKansas Department of Agriculture Food Safety & Lodging
KentuckyKentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services Food Safety Branch
LouisianaLouisiana Department of Health Retail Food
MaineMaine Department of Health & Human Services Health Inspection
MarylandMaryland epartment of Health & Mental Hygiene Division of Food Safety
MassachusettsMassachusetts Department of Public Health Food Protection
MichiganMichigan Department of Agriculture Food Safety
MinnesotaMinnesota Department of Health Food Safety
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Dairy & Food Inspection Division
MississippiMississippi Department of Health Food Safety Division
MissouriMissouri Department of Health & Senior Services Food Safety
MontanaMontana Department of Public Health & Human Services Food & Consumer Safety
NebraskaNebraska Department of Agriculture Food Division
NevadaNevada Department of Health & Human Services Environmental Health Services
New HampshireNew Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services Food Protection
New JerseyNew Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services Food & Drug Safety
New MexicoNew Mexico Environment Department Food
New YorkNew Your Department of Agriculture & Markets Division of Food Safety & Inspection
New Your Department of Health, Food Handling, Preparation, and Storage
North CarolinaNorth Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Food Protection and Facilities, Division of Public Health
North DakotaNorth Dakota Department of Health Division of Food & Lodging
OhioOhio Department of Health Food Safety
Ohio Department of Agriculture Food Safety Division
OklahomaOklahoma Department of Health Consumer Protection Division
OregonOregon Department of Human Services Foodborne Illness Prevention Program
Oregon Department of Agriculture Food Safety Division
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Food Safety
Rhode IslandRhode Island Department of Health Office of Food Protection
South CarolinaSouth Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Food Protection
South DakotaSouth Dakota Department of Health Office of Health Protection
TennesseeTennessee Department of Health Division of General Environmental Health
Tennessee Department of Agriculture Regulatory Services Division
TexasTexas Department of State Health Services Food Establishments
UtahUtah Department of Agriculture Division of Regulatory Services
Utah Department of Health Food Safety
VermontVermont Department of Health Food & Lodging
VirginiaVirginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Food Safety
Virginia Department of Health Division of Food & General Environmental Health Services
WashingtonWashington Department of Health Food Safety Program
West VirginiaWest Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources Public Health Sanitation
West Virginia Department of Agriculture
WisconsinWisconsin Department of Agriculture, Food Safety
WisconsinWisconsin Department of Health Services Food Safety & Recreational Licensing
WyomingWyoming Department of Agriculture Consumer Health Services
Table Of New Food Business Regulatory Agencies By State

Stacey

With over 15 years of experience starting, running, and growing home-based food businesses, Stacey is the #1 home-based food business coach in America. Stacey is the author of the Advantage Meals: By The Numbers Book.

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