Food Service Licensing
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting your food business started, we have the resources you need to establish food operations in Hamilton County, Ohio.
To renew your food service license, complete the application for a license to conduct a food service operation or retail food establishment. If you received an invoice from Hamilton County Public Health and would like to pay online, please click the button below and enter your invoice number.
Click the button below or view food operation licensing fees here. For more information about your facility’s specific fees, please contact (513) 946-7800.
Prior to construction of a new food operation (restaurant, bar, grocery store, etc.), a set of plans must be submitted to the Hamilton County General Health District for review. The plans should contain the following information:
- A menu or list of food items to be sold
- A floor plan of the operation showing the following items:
- Total area used for the food operation
- Entrance and exits (self-closing doors on restrooms)
- Location of plumbing fixtures (hand sinks; mop sink; 3-compartment utensil washing sink or mechanical dishwasher; food prep sink for washing and thawing foods; grease interceptor)
- Equipment (refrigerators; freezers; stoves; ovens; grills; fryers; steam tables; microwaves; etc.)
- An equipment list stating manufacturer, make and model numbers. All equipment must be National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) approved.
- A surface finish list of the floors, walls and ceiling. Must be smooth and easily cleanable.
- A lighting schedule of both natural and artificial light. In all food preparation and utensil washing areas, 40 foot candle minimum required. In dry storage areas, walk-in refrigerators and freezers, 20 foot candle minimum required.
- Completed Plan Review Application and fee submitted to:
Hamilton County Public Health
Environmental Health Division
250 William Howard Taft Road, 2nd Floor
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219
Any new food service operation that began operation after March 1, 2010, is required to obtain food manager training for at least one employee per shift. This training is offered at least bi-monthly by Hamilton County Public Health. An application to attend this course must be submitted along with the plan review application.
Mobile Food Services
A food service operation that is operated from a movable vehicle, portable structure, or watercraft and that routinely changes location must obtain a license from Hamilton County Public Health. Mobile food service operation includes a food service operation that does not remain at any one location for more than 40 consecutive days and serves, in a manner consistent with division (F) of section 3717.01 of the Revised Code.
- To obtain your license, complete the application for a license to conduct a mobile food service operation.
- Let us know your plan! In addition to the application, please fill out this Plan Review for Mobile Food Operations.
- Do you have everything you need? Check off items one by one with this Mobile Food Operations Requirements Checklist.
Temporary Food Services
In addition to restaurants, bars, cafeterias and other facilities that prepare, serve and sell food, Hamilton County Public Health also licenses and inspects temporary food service operations. Temporary food service operation licenses are required for any person/group who wishes to prepare and sell food for 5 consecutive days or fewer in the same location. Examples of this include booths at community festivals or fairs, yard sales and school booster events. Facilities that already have a permanent food service operation license must also apply for a temporary license if they plan to prepare and sell food outside their facility walls (in a tent on their property, at a community festival).
Churches are not required to apply for a temporary license if the food will be sold on church property and all proceeds will go back to the church.
The following information will help you apply for a temporary food service license:
- Read over this Temporary Mobile Food Service Packet
- Apply at least 10 days prior to event
Authorization to conduct a temporary food service operation will be issued upon inspection of your food booth by Health District personnel. To prevent delays in opening your booth it is suggested that you be completely operational at least one hour prior to the event’s starting time.
- Application to License a Food Service Operation or Retail Food Establishment
- Application for a License to Conduct a Mobile Food Service Operation
- Mobile Food Operations Checklist
- Plan Review for Mobile Food Service Operations
- Plan Review Application
- Plan Review Application (Micro Market)
- Temporary Food License Packet