Food: Establishments (restaurant, food truck, bakery, diner, caterer, frozen dessert stand, butcher, food delivery, others)
Includes many types of public eating places. Those interested in creating a new food establishment or expanding an existing establishment are strongly encouraged to call the Office of Food Protection as early as possible, to understand the full process prior to purchasing, constructing, or amending the premises.
The Division of Public Health issues permits to over 3,300 food establishments. If you plan to open a food establishment, please call Food Protection Office at 302-744-4546 as soon as possible to learn about the licensing procedure.
Prior to any construction or adjustments to the food establishment building or unit, please contact the Food Protection Office at 302-744-4546 to ensure that you are following the procedure to avoid unnecessary delays and costs.
A food establishment is an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends or otherwise provides food for human consumption. This can include take-out counters in grocery stores. These operations are inspected on a regular basis to monitor for compliance with the State of Delaware Food Code, a national model endorsed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Office of Food Protection ensures that food is safe to be consumed in Delaware. To accomplish this, the office ensures that the Health Systems Protection is qualified to conduct inspections in facilities that handle food, ensures that complaints from the public on food safety are handled properly, and that all laws and regulations that apply to food establishments are enforced.
“Food establishment” means an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption: such as a restaurant; satellite or catered feeding location; catering operation if the operation provides food directly to a consumer or to a conveyance used to transport people; market; vending location; conveyance used to transport people; institution; or food bank; and that relinquishes possession of food to a consumer directly, or indirectly through a delivery service such as home delivery of grocery orders or restaurant takeout orders, or delivery service that is provided by common carriers.
“Food establishment” includes an element of the operation such as a transportation vehicle or a central preparation facility that supplies a vending location or satellite feeding location unless the vending or feeding location is permitted by the Division of Public Health; and an operation that is conducted in a mobile, stationary, temporary, or permanent facility or location; where consumption is on or off the premises; and regardless of whether there is a charge for the food.
- An establishment that offers only pre-packaged foods that are not time/temperature control for safety;
- A produce stand that only offers whole, uncut fresh fruits and vegetables;
- A food processing plant;
- A kitchen in a private home if only food that is not time/temperature control for safety is prepared for sale or service at a function such as a religious or charitable organization's bake sale if allowed by law and if the consumer is informed by a clearly visible placard at the sales or service location that the food is prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection by the Division of Public Health;
- An area where food that is prepared as specified immediately above is sold or offered for human consumption;
- A kitchen in a private home such as a small family day-care provider; or a bed-and-breakfast operation that prepares and offers food to guests if the home is owner occupied, the number of available guest bedrooms does not exceed 6, breakfast is the only meal offered, the number of guests served does not exceed 18, and the consumer is informed by statements contained in published advertisements, mailed brochures, and placards posted at the registration area that the food is prepared in a kitchen that is not regulated and inspected by the Division of Public Health; or
- A private home that receives catered or home-delivered food; or a private home in which an individual is hired to prepare foods for personal consumption.
Please note, even if your business may not need a Food Establishment permit per the above list, your business will still need a Delaware General Business License from the Division of Revenue if you plan to operate your business in Delaware. For all businesses, please visit the Get Your License page for more information on registering your business.
Department: Health and Social Services
Division: Public Health
Office: Office of Food Protection
Licensure renewal forms are sent to the facilities annually, prior to the expiration of the current license. Please contact our office with any questions.
Applicable Rules and Regulations
Registry of Licenses Search
This search covers most of the frequently requested licenses, certifications, registrations, and filings that the State of Delaware requires. However, this is not a fully exhaustive list of every possible requirement. Please consult with the appropriate state agencies to find out if there are additional requirements you must fulfill.