Establishments that process food—such as sauces, salsa, salad dressings, candies, chocolates, jams and jellies, etc.—for retail or wholesale markets, as well as food warehouses and distribution centers, must apply for a food processor license. Applicants planning to operate a food processing establishment must submit the following at least 30 days prior to the anticipated opening date:
- A complete and legible Application for License to Operate a Food Establishment
- A check or money order for license fees—fees are non-refundable
- Water test results, if applicable (see below)
- Documentation of a process authority review, if producing low-acid canned foods, acidified foods, or if requested by the Health Department
- HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan, if applicable
- Wastewater permit from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Once your application is processed, a public health inspector will contact you to discuss your plans and schedule an inspection. Review the Good Manufacturing Practices for Food Rule before your inspection.
You are responsible for contacting additional federal, state, and local entities for compliance with applicable regulations or policies for your business. Always check with your town clerk’s office for local requirements.
- Register your business name with the Secretary of State.
- Apply for a business tax account and a license to collect and pay applicable taxes at the Department of Taxes.
- Contact the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets for information relating to the sale of maple syrup, meat, or dairy products.
- Contact the Department of Environmental Conservation, which issues wastewater permits for new construction or for increased seating capacity.
- Contact the Department of Public Safety Fire Safety and Electrical Program, which inspects public buildings for fire and safety hazards, and the Plumbing Program, which inspects plumbing for compliance with state rules.
- Submit recent laboratory tests for coliform/E. coli and nitrates (establishments on private water systems only) from the Health Department Lab or other laboratory that is certified for drinking water analysis. Find a list of certified labs here.
- Food facilities must also register with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.