Food Operations That Do Not Need Permits

Want to start a food business without jumping through a bunch of hoops? While there are many barriers in the food industry, there are a few food operations that do not need permits.

Most commercial food operations must obtain permits to verify that the business meets specific health and safety regulations. These regulations help uphold the health standards important for the protection of the public. However, not all food operations require formal permits.

Food operations that do not need permits

green, purple, pink, and orange macarons

1. Home-based food businesses: Homemade food businesses (‘cottage food operations’) usually do not require permits. Cottage food operations involve the production of certain non-hazardous foods within residential kitchens. These could include foods like jams, jellies, bread, pickles, dried fruit, popcorn, and many more. These businesses generally do not need permits as long as they do not sell meat or dairy. However, it is important to check the local regulations as some states might require registration or some form of certification.

2. Fundraising events: Charity events where food is sold typically do not need permits. This is because these events occur infrequently and are often non-commercial. However, it’s imperative that these events still adhere to safe food handling practices to protect the public from foodborne illnesses. Again, it is crucial to clarify local laws around such activities, as some might require a temporary food service permit.

3. Food demos: Food preparation and handling classes may not require permits if food is not sold or served for consumption. These operations focus primarily on the transfer of food skills and knowledge, therefore posing minimal risk toward public health.

food operations that do not need permits

Note: Always check with your local health department

Permitting requirements vary from state to state and county to county. Always be sure to visit your local health department’s website to determine whether or not you need a permit.

It is also important to note that while these categories of operations may not require permits, they are still required to uphold public health standards. Practices that enhance food safety such as proper food storage, maintaining personal hygiene, preventing cross-contamination, and proper food cooking should be consistently implemented.

Once your food business is ready to go, you can set up shop on Airmart to start taking orders!