Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Food Establishment Permit

To open a food establishment in Florida, you must obtain a food establishment permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).

Permitted retail food establishments include supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, coffee shops, bakeries, retail meat markets, retail seafood markets, juice and smoothie bars, ice/water vending machines, food salvage stores, businesses selling prepackaged foods, and certain mobile food units selling only prepackaged foods or non-potentially hazardous food items.

Wholesale food establishments include bottled water plants, food processing plants and food storage warehouses.

How to Obtain a Food Establishment Permit

Step 1: Review the Minimum Construction Standards.

Your best first step is to review the Food Establishment Minimum Construction Standards [ Adobe PDF Document 237.73 KB ] and verify that the building location you plan to use for food operations meets all the standards.

Step 2 (Optional): Apply for Voluntary Plan Review.

Our voluntary plan review process is designed to review your existing building or your conversion, construction or remodeling plans to evaluate conformance with the established requirements. Taking advantage of plan review helps food establishments avoid potential costly and time-consuming modifications.

For more information, see our Plan Review Information Guide and Application [ Adobe PDF Document ] or call (850) 245-5520.

Step 3 (Retail Only): Designate a Certified Food Protection Manager.

All food establishments that process, pack, hold or prepare potentially hazardous foods at retail are required to designate a Certified Food Protection Manager [ Adobe PDF Document 1.02 MB ].

The Certified Food Protection Manager must be able to:

  • Identify any hazards in the daily operation of the food establishment;
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures to prevent foodborne illness;
  • Coordinate employee food safety training, direct food preparation activities and take corrective action as needed to protect the health of the consumer; and
  • Conduct periodic in-house self-inspections of daily operations to ensure that food safety policies and procedures are followed.

Step 4: Request an Initial Opening Inspection.

Once you have determined that your business meets all requirements, you must request an initial opening inspection to ensure compliance with all food safety standards. This request should be made at least two weeks prior to your anticipated opening date.

Request an opening inspection online, by filling out a downloadable form [ Adobe PDF Document ] and mailing it to FDACS, or by calling (850) 245-5520.

After a request has been submitted, a field inspector will make contact within three to five business days to schedule an onsite inspection within two weeks.

Before your inspection, ensure that the applicable equipment for a safe food operation is working and that processes for food safety can be described by the onsite person in charge.

Refrigeration units, thermometers and any other equipment required for your operation should be in working order for the field inspector to verify for permitting.

Step 5: Provide a Copy of Your Water and Sewer Bill. 

At the time of your onsite inspection, you must provide your inspector with a copy of the water and sewer bill.

Step 6: Pay Your Permit Fees.

Food Establishment Permit Fees [ Adobe PDF Document 173.59 KB ] are determined at the time of initial inspection and are based on the type of food establishment operation. Fees cannot be determined prior to inspection, and payment cannot be accepted by our inspectors in the field.

An inspection summary of "Met Inspection Requirements" or "Met Inspection Requirements — Check-Back Needed" on your initial inspection will initiate the billing process. A bill will be mailed to the owner address. Payment is required before the food establishment permit will be mailed. For fastest service, please pay online.

Issuance of the Food Establishment Permit

Permits will be mailed within approximately two weeks of receipt of payment.

Annual Renewal

A Food Permit Renewal Notice will be mailed to the owner of each permitted food establishment in the fall. Payment is due by December 31 of each year.

Late Fees

A late fee of $100 will be assessed when payment for the Food Permit Renewal Notice is not received by December 31. Food permits will not be issued until all fees — including the late fee — are received. 

Change of Ownership or Location

With the exception of mobile vendors, permits are not transferable from owner to owner or from one location to another. A Food Establishment Inspection Application is required if you incur an ownership or location change.

Requirements of Other Governmental Agencies

Regulations vary among counties and municipalities, and requirements from both may or may not apply to your business. Before making financial commitments, such as signing a lease or construction contracts or purchasing an existing business, contact the business license, zoning and building authorities in your area to find out their requirements.

Alcohol License

For New Food Establishments

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Form ABT-6001 will be signed when:

  • A food establishment has been approved by FDACS after plan review or
  • A food establishment has been inspected and the inspection summary is not "Reinspection Required."

For Existing Permitted Food Establishments

DBPR Form ABT-6001 will be signed by the FDACS plan reviewer when a food establishment has been inspected within the last 12 months and the inspection summary is not "Reinspection Required."

Permitted food establishments that have not been inspected in the last 12 months will be required to have a routine inspection.

Additional Requirements

A food establishment may have additional requirements depending on the type of operation and processes being conducted. For more information, see our Retail and Wholesale Food Program pages.