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Food Protection

Our Food Protection Program is dedicated to protecting the health of the public by regulating and inspecting Howard County's 450+ Retail Food Establishments. This includes restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, schools, assisted living facilities, and temporary and seasonal vendors.

A permit is required whenever food is provided directly to a consumer who is a member of the general public unless the food is pre-packaged and not a Potentially Hazardous Food. The permit is valid only for the address/location for which it is issued unless it is a Mobile Seasonal Permit. The Permit is valid only for the person to whom it is issued, subject to issue and expiration dates, and is not transferable. In order to obtain a permit, the applicant or an employee must have a valid Food Protection Manager Certification (find the exceptions to this rule here).

Annual/Seasonal Food Permit

*All Food Permits expire on January 31st, 2022. Complete an application, pay your associated Menu Type (found on your permit) fee, and submit it to our office to renew.*

Before an Annual or Seasonal Permit may be issued for a new establishment, a Plan Review Application must be turned in. The Plan Review process is also necessary for existing establishments that plan to remodel. Registration with the Health Department giving at least 30 days' notice of an intent to operate is required. See the Howard County Fee Ordinance for currently associated fees.

Temporary Food Permit

A Temporary Food Establishment Permit is required for events lasting a maximum of 14 days. The application and permit fee associated with a temporary permit must be turned into our office at least one week prior to the first day of operation. Please see the Temporary Food Establishment Brochure.

Farmers Markets

Some food products sold at Farmers’ Markets may require a Food Permit. If you are not able to sell the food as a Home Based Vendor (HBV), then a permit is necessary. Click here for more information regarding HBV and Farmers Markets.

Applications and Additional Information