Licensing a Home-Based Food Establishment

Read the Guide to Opening a Home-Based Food Establishment

Health Department regulations allow some small businesses to operate in a primary residence using standard home equipment. Applicants planning to operate a home food establishment must submit the following at least 30 days prior to the anticipated opening date:

Once your application is processed, a public health inspector will contact you to discuss your plans and schedule an inspection. Review the Health Regulations for Food Service Establishments before your inspection.

You are responsible for contacting additional 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.
  • 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.

Ensuring your home-prepared food is safe to the consumer is critical to the success of your small business. Food should be prepared at times when there are no other activities in the kitchen. Small children or pets should not be allowed into the kitchen during food preparation and packaging for sale. Preparing products for sale while making a meal or doing other activities increases the likelihood for cross-contamination.

There are certain conditions where a home-based food business is exempt from licensing. You can read about the exemptions and submit the necessary paperwork by selecting the button below.


Contact Information

Food & Lodging Program
108 Cherry St., PO Box 70 
Burlington, VT 05402-0070    
Phone: (802) 863-7221 or
(800) 439-8550 (toll-free within VT)
Fax: (802) 863-7483

Use this Public Health Inspector District Map to find contact details for the inspector in your area.