Starting a Food Business

A food establishment is any business that serves food to the public. This includes but is not limited to grocery stores, delis, restaurants, bakeries, bars, coffee stands, mini marts, summer camp and school cafeterias. 

Prior to remodeling an existing food establishment or opening a new food establishment, the Washington State Food Code requires a plan review approval by the local health jurisdiction. This review process helps to ensure compliance with state and local health code requirements. 

Plan Review Packet

To complete the plan review, the following items will need to be submitted to the Health District: 

Change of Ownership

Change of Ownership - Did you purchase a new food establishment? If so, please submit a Food Establishment Permit Application.

New Mobile Food Unit - A mobile food unit includes food trucks, push carts, and any other mobile food operation. A mobile food unit is typically supported by an approved commissary kitchen for food preparation and storage. 

New mobile food units need to apply for a plan review with the Health District to ensure compliance with state regulation. 

Already have a mobile food unit that is permitted in another county and wish to operate it in the Tri County area? Please submit the Mobile Food Unit Reciprocity Checklist. 

Currently, state law does not allow a food establishment to operate in a residential home. 



Washington State Department of Agriculture

The Washington State Department of Agriculture regulates several types of food businesses. 

Cottage Food Program

The Cottage Food Program, regulated by the Department of Agriculture, may allow shelf stable foods to be baked at home and sold to the public. This may include jams, candies, bread, cookies, and pies that do not require refrigeration. Please contact the Washington State Department of Agriculture for more information. 

Other businesses regulated by Washington State Department of Agriculture are: 

  • Dairy farms
  • Food processing businesses (herbs, dried fruit, teas, foods repackaged for sale)
  • Food storage warehouses
  • Custom meat facilities
  • Processing plants
  • Egg sales
  • Marijuana infused edibles

For more information, contact the Washington State Department of Agriculture