Retail Food Licensing

Read the Guide to Opening a Food Establishment

Retail food establishments include restaurants, catering companies, food trucks and push carts, as well as seafood vendors and limited operation establishments. Applicants planning to operate a retail 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 can also use this Facility Requirements guide to prepare for a retail food establishment 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.
  • Contact a Permit Specialist at the Agency of Natural Resources to discuss wastewater and potable water system permits, and other applicable ANR requirements.
  • 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 test results 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.
Shellfish Reshippers and Repackers

Businesses that purchase shellfish and either process or break the product down into small lots for wholesale or retail operations should apply for a shellfish reshipper/repacker license. Read the Shellfish Sanitation Rule before submitting an Application for License to Operate a Food Establishment.

Contact Information

Food & Lodging Program
108 Cherry St., PO Box 70 
Burlington, VT 05402-0070    
Phone: (802) 863-7222 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.