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Food service licensing FAQ's

Questions and answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding food service licensing.

Yes.  With a few exceptions, the state Food Law, Act 92 as amended, prohibits a person from operating a food service establishment unless licensed and inspected by the designated regulatory authority.

Yes.  Food is anything that can be consumed by humans which includes beverages and ice.

Yes. The requirements of the food law remain the same.  Food/beverage offered to the public must be stored, prepared and handled in the same safe manner whether it is sold or given away.

Private homes can not be licensed as  food service establishments.  The FDA Food Code states:  “A private home, a room used as living or sleeping quarters, or an area directly opening into a room used as living or sleeping quarters may not be used for conducting food establishment operations.”

Prepacked food and bottled or canned beverages that do not require temperature control for safety, can be sold without a food service license.

Additionally in 2010,  Michigan adopted a cottage food law.  Under this law people can make and sell specific foods in their own home without being inspected or licensed.  Cottage foods are required to be packaged and labeled according to the law.

Examples of the types of food are:

  • Baked goods that do not require refrigeration
  • Fruit pies
  • Jams and Jellies made from fruit
  • Chocolate covered foods that do not require refrigeration.
  • Dried spice and baking  mixes
  • Bread
  • Fruit pies
  • Popcorn
  • Roasted coffee beans or grounds
  • Dried pasta
  • Nuts

Licensing and regulatory responsibilities are divided between the local health department and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) based on the overall operation of the business.

Generally a grocery store, convenience store, market, bakery, butcher shop, candy store, produce store, processing plant, repackaging operation, food warehouse, farmers' market,  vending operation and state/county fair concessions fall under the jurisdiction of MDARD.

A business that primarily prepares or serves food for immediate consumption such as a restaurant, cafeteria, sandwich shop, coffee shop, pizza delivery, bar, brewpub, caterer, rental hall, ice cream shop, hot dog stand, catering truck, special event food vendor,  are regulated by the local health department.

All new food service establishments must undergo a plan review process before a license is granted.  A completed plan review application along with equipment specifications, standard operating procedures, menu, and scaled floor plans must be submitted for review and approved by the local health department.

No. Food service licenses are issued to a specific owner and to a specific address therefore are not transferable to another person or to another location. 

Food service establishments are categorized by the type of operation it is and are licensed accordingly.   There are five (5) types of food service operations:

  • Fixed food   -  food service operation that operates from a building at a fixed address.
  • Commissary  - type of fixed food service operation that services mobile food units.
  • Mobile food  -  food service operation that operates from a vehicle, boat or cart and is required to return to a licensed commissary each day for servicing.
  • Temporary food  -  food service operation that operates at a fixed location for a temporary period of time not to exceed 14 consecutive days. (Example: festival concession)
  • Special transitory food (STFU)  -  type of temporary food service operation that can operate anywhere in Michigan without the 14-day limit and is not required to return to a commissary.

Yes. New and remodeled facilities are required to submit plans and specifications to the local Health Department for review and approval prior to the start of construction.  

Yes. Before adding, removing or replacing equipment the Health Department must be consulted to determine if proposed changes will meet food code requirements.

The actual length of time varies but will be started within 30 business days. Plans are reviewed in the order they are received by this department. The more complete the application is filled out with all supplemental documentation, the quicker the plan review specialist can grant approvals. 

Depending on the complexity of the operation, the frequency of use, and the amount of food prepared, this may or may not be permitted.  Please contact the Macomb County Health Department to determine licensing requirements.

​​​​​​​Contact the Environmental Health Services Division

Mount Clemens: 586-469-5236 | Email: