Food business permits
For King County, WA food establishments
The Food Protection Program reviews and approves construction plans for retail food establishments in King County; such as restaurants, caterers, grocery stores, school cafeterias and mobile food vehicles. The Food Protection Program also reviews applications for farmers markets, temporary food booths as well as feeding programs for the needy.
Second permit fee extension for
retail food establishments
Public Health – Seattle & King County recognizes that retail food service establishments continue to be financially impacted by measures to control the spread of COVID-19. To relieve some of the financial strain faced by business owners and their employees, we are extending the annual operating permit fee due date by an additional 45 days beyond the previous 60-day extension we had implemented to the original due date of March 31, 2020.
- The new operating permit due date will be July 15, 2020.
- Through July 15, 2020, you will not be charged a late fee for your annual food establishment permit renewals.
- You can submit your annual permit application on or before July 15, 2020 without incurring any late fees.
- Renewed permits will remain valid through March 31, 2021.
If you are a food business owner or a food worker and have questions related to your operation, please reach out to your Health Investigator or call 206-263-9566 to speak with office staff.
FOOD ESTABLISHMENT TYPES
Select a type of establishment that best describes your business to learn more about how to obtain a food business permit:
- Permanent food establishment
A permanent food business is an establishment operating at a fixed location for more than twenty-one (21) consecutive days.
- Temporary food establishments
A temporary food business is an establishment operating at a fixed location for not more than twenty-one (21) consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration. (WAC 246-215-01115(124)(a)(b)).
- Mobile food establishments
Mobile Food Establishments include food carts, trailers, and trucks as well as food kiosks. Before constructing, remodeling, or changing ownership; mobile food establishment owners must submit plans for review and approval.
- Farmers Markets
- Catering and home-based food establishments
Catering and home-based food businesses need a food service permit to legally prepare and serve food as hired prior to private parties and events in King County.
- Beverage-related businesses, such as wine, beer, and distillery tasting rooms
OTHER TYPES OF FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS
- Cottage food and wholesale food operations
These businesess are regulated by the Washington State Dept. of Agriculture.
- Food operations and bake sales that do not need permits (food exemptions)
Some types of food service operations that are regulated by other agencies or that present minimal risk to causing foodborne illness do not need to obtain a permit. Even so, it is important to follow safe food handling practices like washing your hands and storing the food in a safe place.
- Micro-Market (Unattended Retail) (PDF)
Plan Review Submittal Cover Sheet.
Preparation for reopening restaurants with introduction to Phase II requirements
On May 20, 2020, Public Health – Seattle & King County hosted a webinar in collaboration with the City of Seattle and the Washington Hospitality Association, outlining guidance for reopening restaurants and how to prepare for Phase II of the Safe Start approach to reopening.
Presenters provide guidance for preparing equipment and buildings for opening, ensuring employee and customer health and safety, how to implement Safe Start requirements, and more.
Minimize the spread of COVID-19
in retail food establishments
Food has not been identified as a likely source of COVID-19 infection at this time; however food businesses can play an important role in both protecting their employees and their customers from COVID-19 by following these guidelines:
- Phase 2 guidance for King County restaurants
- Guidance for small grocery stores
- Criteria for reopening of food establishments: Minimizing the spread of COVID-19
- Personal and environmental hygiene practices
- What should I do if a food worker is diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Guidance for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection of meal programs and food distribution operations
- Virtual food safety assessments
CBDs (cannabidiol) in food and beverages
Recently there has been interest from food establishment operators in selling food and beverage products with industrial hemp and its derivatives such as cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD. Federal and State laws do not permit the manufacture and retail sales of CBD as a food ingredient in foods and beverages for sale in retail food establishments.
Therefore, in King County, the addition of CBD to food and beverages is prohibited until further guidance and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Washington State Department of Agriculture, and Washington Department of Health.
This means that operators may not add CBD to food or beverages, nor may they obtain products containing CBD for resale in any retail food establishment in King County, including restaurants, coffee shops, cafeterias, grocery stores, or at temporary food events and farmers markets.
There are also regulations related to the manufacturing for wholesale and/or interstate shipping of food and beverage products containing CBD. This is regulated in Washington state by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
- Food worker card class and test
All employees of a food establishment including cooks, bartenders, servers, hosts, bus persons, etc. are required to obtain a Washington State Food Worker Card. You can take the class and test conveniently online or go to any of our in-person classes.
- Meat cutter license
If your job requires the cutting of fresh beef, veal, lamb and/or pork within a meat establishment you will need to pass an exam to obtain a personal occupational Meat Cutter license in addition to the Food Worker Card exam.
- Nutrition labeling requirements for King County chain food establishments
The King County Board of Health's nutrition labeling regulation requires some chain food restaurants to provide calorie, saturated fat, carbohydrate and sodium information to customers.
- Artificial trans fat ban requirements for all King County food establishments
In King County, food establishments may not use nor sell any product that contains partially hydrogenated oils.
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