How to Get a Food Processing License from the Health Department

You will need a food processing license if you are operating a manufacturing facility to make products like salsa, sauce, salad dressing, coffee, beverages, snacks, candy, chocolate, condiments, jam and jelly, etc. Warehouses and distribution centers also need this type of license.

You need to take several steps before getting a license to a food processing business in Vermont. The process from start to finish may take about 30 days. You might need to contact other agencies to get permits during this process, which may make the process take longer, so please plan accordingly.

  1. If you haven't already, determine which license you need, and review the regulations for that license category. Find specific information if you are opening a home-based food business.

  2. Fill out and mail the application and license fees 30 days before opening.

  3. A health inspector will contact you to discuss your plans and schedule an opening inspection, usually within 10 business days. Contact a public health inspector if you have questions about the inspection.

  4. Contact other state and local agencies as needed. Contact a DEC regional office or search the database if you have questions about wastewater permits.

  5. Complete an opening inspection. You are approved to begin operating after you pass an opening inspection and have all permits from other agencies in place. The license will be mailed to you within 10 business days.

In rare cases, a license is not required. Learn more about license exemptions

Materials for You

Apply for a Food Processor License Español

Need to renew your license? Find out how to renew your license online

What you need to know about the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and Food Facility Registration

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) overhauled the way it regulates food facilities with the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA has finalized seven major rules as part of the Act. Find more about the rules and related programs of the FSMA.

Certain small food facilities may qualify for modified requirements if they file a Qualified Facility Attestation. Read more about the Qualified Facilities Determination.

Most food facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States are required to register with the Food & Drug Administration. Use these resources to find out more about the requirements:

Information for small-scale food processors about exemptions

There are certain conditions where very small food processors are exempt from licensing. You can read about the exemption and submit the necessary paperwork by selecting the button below. Please note that claiming an exemption from the licensing requirements does not exempt an establishment from compliance with the food safety and sanitation requirements in the Good Manufacturing Practices for Food Rule, nor does the exemption prevent a public health inspector from inspecting your establishment to ensure those requirements are being complied with and investigating any potential health hazards.

Submit an Exemption Form

More resources for you


FDA Guidance for Industry: Food Labeling Guide Labeling and nutrition guidance documents from the Food & Drug Administration.
Food Processing Authorities Search a list of food processing authorities provided by the Association of Food & Drug Officials (AFDO).
Labeling for Food Producers and Processors UVM fact sheet for clarifying label requirements on food products commonly sold in Vermont.
When You're Healthy, We're All Healthy Video for food establishments to share with food workers about how to keep illnesses from spreading.
Log Sheets Print these food safety log sheet templates for use in your establishment. 
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a product review from a process authority?

A process authority review is required before producing low-acid canned foods, acidified foods, or if it is requested by the Health Department.

What needs to be on the product label?

Basic labeling requirements for products commonly made in Vermont can be found on this UVM Extension fact sheet. Detailed information about federal requirements can be found in the FDA Labeling & Nutrition Guidance for Industry.

Do I have to register with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)?

Food processors, warehouses, and distribution centers need to register with the FDA. Find more information here to evaluate requirements for your facility about FDA Food Facility Registration.

Where can I find out more about the Food Safety Modernization Act?

Read more about FSMA on the Food & Drug Administration website.

Who is my health inspector?
Contact Us

Food & Lodging Program

108 Cherry St., PO Box 70 

Burlington, VT 05402-0070

Phone: 802-863-7221 or 800-439-8550 (toll-free within Vermont)

Fax: 802-863-7483

Email: [email protected]

Find the public health inspector in your area

Last Updated: August 29, 2023