Any type of business that sells food directly to customers is required to obtain a retail food establishment permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) before opening to the public. Some examples of the food establishments that likely need to obtain a retail food establishment permit include:
- Grocery stores
- Convivence stores
- Coffee shops
- Smoothie and juice bars
- Food salvage stores
- Ice/water vending machines
- Retail seafood markets
- Retail meat markets
- Businesses that sell prepackaged foods
If a business owner isn’t sure whether they are required to obtain a retail food establishment permit from the FDACS, they can always consult with an Orlando, FL business law attorney. A qualified lawyer such as those at Legal Counsel P.A. can review with them the basic requirements their business must meet in order to be in compliance with state and federal regulations. Business owners can also contact the FDACS directly to find out if their type of business requires them to obtain a food permit before they can begin operations.
How to apply for a retail food establishment permit?
A new business owner in Orlando who needs to apply for a retail food establishment permit will need to follow these steps prior to opening:
- Review the Minimum Construction Standards. These standards outline the requirements the business must meet in order to sell food products to the public. If a business owner doesn’t meet one of the standards, he/she must modify their location and they may need to obtain certain permits from other agencies such as Zoning, Building/Plumbing, etc. in order to do this.
- Apply for a Voluntary Plan Review. The review allows the FDACS to perform a preliminary review of the business owner’s existing building to determine what requirements must be met. This can save a business owner time and money.
- Designate a Certified Food Protection Manager. Any food establishment that intends on processing, packing, holding, or preparing potentially hazardous foods is required to designate someone as their Certified Food Protection Manager.
- Ensure all processing requirements are met.
- Apply for a new food permit. Once a business meets all the FDACS’s requirements, they can apply for a food permit no more than 14 days before their anticipated opening date. After their application is received, a field inspector will contact the business owner within three to five business days to schedule an onsite inspection.
- Pay permit fees. If the business passed the inspection, they will be required to pay the permit fees before their permit can be issued.
The process to apply for a food permit is a lengthy one and each step should be reviewed in detail.
Before a business owner makes any financial commitments (e.g. sign a commercial lease or construction contract), they should contact an Orlando, FL business law lawyer at Legal Counsel P.A. first. The lawyers at Legal Counsel P.A. will not only help a business owner understand the contracts they are looking to sign, but also ensure they are properly prepared to start their business.
Legal Counsel P.A. is located at:
189 S. Orange Avenue, Ste. 1800
Orlando, FL 32801
Email: [email protected]