Permitting Information - Retail Food Establishments


Table of Contents


Retail Food Establishments and Food Stores

A retail food establishment is any place where food is prepared and intended for individual portion service. This includes the site at which individual portions are provided for consumption on or off the premises and regardless of whether there is a charge for the food.

Bed & breakfasts with more than 7 rooms, restaurants, bars, cafes, snack bars, hospitals that serve food to the general public, correctional facilities (jails) that contract with professional food management corporations for food preparation, and privately-owned correctional facilities are all considered to be retail food establishments.

A retail food store is a food establishment or section of an establishment where food and food products are offered to the consumer and intended for off-premise consumption. This includes delicatessens that offer prepared food in bulk quantities only, grocery stores, markets, etc.

Permitting

To apply for a new permit or renew a current permit, please visit the Regulatory Services online licensing system, or complete and return the Retail Food Operation Permit Application (PDF, 113KB).

Fees

Fees for initial applications, renewals, and change of ownership are based on gross annual volume of food sales.

Permit Fees for Retail Food Establishments
Gross Annual Volume of Food Sales Permitting Fee
$0 – $49,999.99 $258
$50,000 – $149,999.99 $515
$150,000 or more $773

Amendments

To amend an existing permit, please complete and return the Retail Food Operation Amendment Application (PDF, 110KB).

Fees

Fees for initial applications, renewals, and change of ownership are based on gross annual volume of food sales.

Permit Fees for Retail Food Establishments
Gross Annual Volume of Food Sales Amendment Fee
$0 – $49,999.99 $125
$50,000 – $149,999.99 $250
$150,000 or more $375

Mobile Food Units

Mobile food units are defined as a vehicle-mounted mobile food establishment, designed to be readily moveable.

An initial inspection must be performed after payment and prior to permit issuance.

Permitting

Please see the Mobile Food Establishment Checklist (PDF, 36KB) prior to applying for a permit.

To apply for a new permit or renew a current permit, please visit the Regulatory Services online licensing system, or complete and return the Mobile Unit Food Establishment Permit Application (PDF, 114KB).

Fees

Fees for initial applications, renewals, and change of ownership are $258 per unit.

Amendments

To amend an existing permit, please complete and return the School/Roadside Vendor/Mobile Unit Amendment Application (PDF, 110KB).

Fees

Fees for amendments are $125.00.


Roadside Food Vendors

A roadside food vendor is a person who operates a mobile retail food store from a temporary location adjacent to a public roadway or highway. Food shall not be prepared or processed by a roadside food vendor. A roadside food vendor is classified as a mobile food establishment.
(Potentially hazardous foods shall not be prepared or processed by roadside food vendors.)

Permitting

Please see the Roadside Food Vendor Checklist (PDF, 41KB) prior to applying for a permit.

To apply for a new permit or renew a current permit, please visit the Regulatory Services online licensing system, or complete and return the Mobile Unit Food Establishment Permit Application (PDF, 114KB).

Fees

The fee for an initial application, renewal, or change of ownership is $258.

Amendments

To amend an existing permit, please complete and return the School/Roadside Vendor/Mobile Unit Amendment Application (PDF, 110KB).

Fees

Fees for amendments are $125.00.


School Food Establishments

A school food establishment is operated on a for-profit basis by a private contractor.

Permitting

To apply for a new permit or renew a current permit, please visit the Regulatory Services online licensing system, or complete and return the School Food Operation Permit Application (PDF, 114KB).

Fees

The fee for an initial application, renewal, or change of ownership is $258.

Amendments

To amend an existing permit, please complete and return the School/Roadside Vendor/Mobile Unit Amendment Application (PDF, 110KB).

Fees

Fees for amendments are $125.00.


Temporary Retail Food Establishments

A temporary food establishment is a food establishment that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration.

The single event permit is valid for one individual food booth or unit at one specific event, and is valid for 14 consecutive days from the initial effective date. The multiple event permit is valid for one individual food booth or unit at multiple events for 2 years from the initial effective date, provided that each event does not exceed 14 consecutive days.

Permitting

Applications must be received by the Department at least 30 days prior to the event.

Single event permits may be obtained using the online licensing system or by completing and returning the Temporary Food Establishment Single Event Permit Application (PDF, 86KB).

Multiple event permits applications must be submitted using the Temporary Food Establishment Multiple Event Permit Application (PDF, 85KB).

For further information regarding temporary events in Texas Department of State Health Services, please use the Temporary Food Establishment Fact Sheet and/or Temporary Food Establishment Checklist.

Fees

Single event permits are $52, and the fee for a multiple event permit is $200.


Application for Inspection

Permitting

A School Cafeteria that is run by an Independent School District and requires 2 inspections per year can apply for an inspection by completing and returning the School Food Establishment Inspection Application. (PDF, 115 KB)

A non-profit organization requiring an inspection can apply for an inspection by completing and returning the Food Establishment Inspection Application. (52 KB)

Fee

The fee for each inspection is $150.00.

Businesses Not Requiring Permits

  • Day care facilities *
  • Establishments that offers only pre-packaged foods that are not potentially hazardous
  • Produce stands that only offers whole, uncut fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Food processing plants
  • A Bed and Breakfast limited facility
  • A private home that receives catered or home-delivered food
  • A kitchen in a private home is not considered a food establishment if only food that is not potentially hazardous is prepared for sale or service at a function such as a religious or charitable organization's bake sale (if allowed by law)

* As of April 1, 2010 Texas Department of State Health Services is no longer licensing day care facilities as food establishments. For further information please call (512) 834-6626.


Exemptions from Permitting

Organizations are exempt from permitting if they are:

  • Licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a food manufacturer AND paying a higher fee; or
  • Inspected and permitted by a City, County or Public Health District; or
  • A non-profit registered as a 501(C) organization

Last updated May 23, 2017