Food Establishment License

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development administers all licenses for all food establishments located in Michigan. Any establishment at which food or drink is manufactured or processed, stored, offered for sale, is sold to the public is required to obtain a food establishment license. "Food and drink", means articles used for food or drink for humans or other animals, chewing gum, and articles used for components of any such article.

New!  Applications for these tasks are submitted and paid for online through the Michigan Business One Stop portal.


Food Establishment License


Food Law of 2000 as amended 


No administrative rules or regulations. 


 1.  Applicability (activities that require the permit) 

Any persons engaged in processing, manufacturing, production, packing, preparing, repacking, canning, preserving, freezing, fabricating, storing, selling, serving, or offering for sale food or drink for human consumption; is required to obtain a food establishement license.

 2.  Pre-Application Requirements 

A plan review may be required for selected food establishments. For new establishments it is prudent to contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Regional office responsible for the county your facility is located in to set up a plan review Regional Office Map 

Become familiar with the Michigan Food Law and the standards it adopts that are specific to your type of food establishment. For example retail groceries should know and understand the Michigan Food Law and the 2005 Federal Food Code. For a food manufacturer or warehouse again the Michigan Food Law and the appropriate Title 21 or 9 and parts of the Codes of Federal Regulations (CFR) it adopts, e.g. 21 CFR part 110, or 21 CFR part 113 which is specific for Low Acid Food Manufacturers.

 3.  Application Submission Requirements 

After completion of plan review if required, the applicant should complete the Food Establishment License Application and submit with the appropriate fees, 30 days prior to your planned opening date.

 4.  Procedures and Time-Frame for Obtaining Permit or Approval 

Complete plan review if required.

Submit a completed, signed license application with appropriate non refundable application fee.

Submission should be 30 days prior to planned opening date to allow for processing of application.

Prior to opening an onsite inspection of the facility must be completed by the Food Inspector responsible for the facility. Typically inspections are scheduled within 14 days from submission of a complete application, and inspections and licensure occurs typically within 30 days of application submission.

 5.  Operational Requirements 

Awareness, knowledge and compliance with the Michigan Food Law and the standards it adopts.

For a retail grocery store they should be able demonstrate knowledge and compliance with the Michigan Food Law and the 2005 Federal Food Code.

For a food manufacturer, food packer, food warehouse they should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the Michigan Food Law and the appropriate Codes of Federal Regulations (CFR) it adopts which applies to the operations of the firm. For example a Low Acid Food manufacturer should be able to demonstrate knowledge and compliance with the Michigan Food Law, Title 21 CFR part 110 and 113 at a minimum.

 6.  Fees 
  • A.1 Retail Food Establishment License Fee: $70

    An operation that sells or offers to sell food directly to a consumer. Examples include a grocery store, convenience store, party store, retail bakery, fish market, butcher shop, candy store, and produce market. Note: If the business has both food service and seating for the food service, go to B.1.

  • A.2 Limited Wholesale Food Processor License Fee $70

    A wholesale food processor (see B.2) that has $25,000 or less in annual gross wholesale sales made or business done in wholesale sales in the preceding licensing year, or $25,000 or less of the food is reasonably anticipated to be sold for the current licensing year. Only the food sales from the wholesale food processor operation are used in computing the annual gross sales. Examples may include a small maple syrup operation, a small apple cider mill, a small honey processor, and a small poultry or rabbit slaughterer.

  • A.3 Food Warehouse License Fee $70

    A food establishment that stores or distributes prepackaged food. This may include a small or large food warehouse, distribution center, transfer station, public cold storage facility, or reclamation center.

  • B.1 Extended Retail Food Establishment License Fee $175

    A retail food store that does both of the following:

    Serves or provides an unpackaged food for immediate consumption.

    Provides customer seating in the food service area. 

  • B.2 Wholesale Food Processor License Fee $175

    An operation that processes, manufacturers, packages, or labels food for wholesaling. Examples include an ice manufacturer; wholesale bakery or bread plant; winery; brewery; water, juice, soft drink, or beverage plant; canning plant; flour mill, cereal plant; specialty foods processor; wholesale fish or seafood processor, wholesale fish smoking operation, fruit & vegetable packer, egg grading plant.

  • B.3 Mobile Food Establishment License Fee $175

    Operating (grocery sales) from a vehicle or watercraft and returning to a commissary for servicing at least every 24 hours. An example may include door to door frozen food sales from a truck. Note: the commissary must obtain a Mobile Food Establishment Commissary License.

  • B.4 Mobile Food Establishment Commissary License Fee $175

    An operation that services a mobile food establishment. 

  • C.1 Temporary Food Establishment License Fee $28

    A food establishment which operates at a fixed location for a temporary period not to exceed 14 consecutive days. Example: concession stands at state or county fairs.

  • D.1 Special Transitory Food Unit License Fee $138

    "Special Transitory Food Unit" means a temporary food establishment that is licensed to operate throughout the state without the 14-day limits, or a mobile food establishment that is not required to return to a commissary. If the first operating location is a state or county fair, contact MDARD; otherwise contact the local health department for that location. Additional fees associated with Special Transitory Food Units includes a $177 initial plan review fee as well as a $90 a year inspection fee.

     7.  Appeal Process 

    If a firm is denied licensure they may appeal that decision in accordance with the Michigan Adminstrative Procedures Act, 1969 PA 306.

     8.  Public Input Opportunities 

    Complaints or comments related to a firm may be filed with MDARD any time by contacting your regional office, Map of regional offices or 1-800-292-3939. The complaints are investigated and if they are validated through a finding of a violation then this would be considered in the decision-making process.

    E. Contact Information: 

    Contact Us