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Food Protection Program: Our Environmental Health Specialists regulate and inspect food establishments, vendors and food processing establishments to ensure safety and sanitation. Contact: 455-5400.

Licensure for permanent site application: A food establishment license is required but not limited to the following types of establishments; salvage processing facilities, food service establishments (restaurants, bars, school lunch facilities), cold storage plants, commissaries, warehouses, food vending machine operations, caterers, mobile food units and retail food stores (grocery and convenient stores).

Plan Review and Permit application procedure:

Southwest District Health (SWDH) requires food establishments to receive approval of plans and specifications prior to obtaining a food license. The following establishments will be required to submit plans and specifications for approval prior to starting operations: new food establishment, remodeled establishment, or an establishment that is changing food operations (fast food to full service).

One full set of plans and specifications must be submitted to SWDH at a minimum of thirty (30) days before the date planned for opening (Idaho Food Code 8-302.11). Mobile food units must also comply with this requirement.Mobile food units that can establish that they were licensed by another Idaho Health District are exempt since the establishment had prior approval.
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Application for license is to be made not less than 15 days before the planned opening of a new establishment or a change of ownership.

The applicant for a license must be the legal owner or the agent of the legal owner of the food establishment.

SWDH prefers both the plan review and application for a food permit be submitted and all fees paid at the same time.

Plan Review fee for a food establishment is $100.00

Licensure fees for food establishment license:
  • Temporary - $65.00
  • Intermittent - $65.00
  • Mobile Without Commissary - $65.00
  • Mobile With Commissary- $85.00
  • Multiple Mobile With Commissary - $65.00
  • Food Establishment - $125.00
  • Food Establishment With More Than Two Licenses - $150.00
Information needed for plan review application:
  • The plans may be prepared by an engineer, architect, draftsman, contractor or business owner.
  • Plans must be large enough to be reviewed without enlargement or the use of optical devices.
  • The plans must be drawn in ink or print and must include: the intended menu, all food related equipment, hand sinks, mop sinks, restrooms, floor, wall, and ceiling construction and finish schedule in the food preparation, dish wash, dry storage, restrooms, outdoor walking, and driving areas, and outdoor storage areas for refuse.
  • Remodel plans must identify all proposed changes to existing structures, spaces, and food equipment.
  • Plans that are incomplete or have a multitude of changes will require revisions before being approved.
  • The anticipated volume of food to be stored, prepared, and sold or served must be addressed.
  • Evidence that standard procedures that insure compliance with the requirements of the “Idaho Food Code” are developed or are being developed.
  • Other information that may be required for the proper review of the proposed construction, conversion, or modification, and procedures for operating a food establishment may be required. Section 8-201.12 of the “Idaho Food Code” states all requirements necessary for the contents of the plans.
Food Establishment Plan Review Application

Information needed for Food Establishment License application:
  • Name and mailing address of the applicant
  • The type of food establishment planned (mobile unit, restaurant, retail store, etc.)
  • Name of the establishment
  • Mailing address and location of the establishment
  • The signatures of the individuals comprising the legal ownership or the agent of the legal owner
  • A copy of the menu
  • A copy of the establishment plans, including:
    • Floor plan
    • Plumbing schedule
    • Mechanical plans
    • Equipment list with the make and model specifications

Food Establishment Permit Applications


Cottage Foods:

A cottage food operation is a person or business preparing or producing cottage food products in the home kitchen of that person’s primary residence, or other designated kitchen or location. Cottage food products are foods that are not sensitive to time and temperature controls. These products may only be sold directly to an end user. This means that these products may not be sold by a third party. Possible locations that these items may be sold are farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and the internet. Cottage foods include but are not limited to:

Some baked goods
Fruit jams and jellies
Fruit pies
Candies and confections
Dried fruits

Dry herb
Dry seasoning and mixtures
Trail mixes and granola
Popcorn and popcorn balls
Cotton candy

If sold directly to a customer these items do not require a food license to prepare, but many venues do require that Southwest District Health be contacted to determine if a license is required. To assist with this, you may print and fill out a Cottage Food Risk Assessment Form at www.foodsafety.idaho.gov and have it signed by an Environmental Health Specialist at Southwest District Health. Environmental Health Services will accept completed forms that are hand delivered to 13307 Miami Lane, Caldwell, ID 83607, faxed to 455-5405, or mailed to our Caldwell Location. Please remember to submit a copy or rendition of your products label with the completed Assessment Form.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) will maintain applicable and updated information related to cottage foods. This information may be reviewed at www.foodsafety.idaho.gov. IDHW may add to or delete food products from the list above. Notice of changes, and the nature of the changes will be posted on the Food Protection Program’s website.

If you have further questions please contact our office at 208.455.5400

Separate Approvals:

Contact the local building, fire, plumbing and electrical department for their requirements. If alcohol beverages are to be sold, contact the Alcohol Beverage Control Bureau (Idaho Department of Law Enforcement) for approval.

A license shall be issued for a new food establishment when:

  • The required plans, specifications and information requested by SWDH have been reviewed and approved
  • The properly completed application has been submitted and license fee receipted
  • A preoperational inspection has been completed
A renewal application and license fee must be submitted by December 1st of each year for the forthcoming year which starts January 1st.

Certified Food Manager Training and Certificate

Certified Food Safety Class:

Southwest District Health’s, Environmental Health Specialists are available to provide on-site training and education to food establishments in Owyhee, Canyon, Gem, Payette, Washington, and Adams counties. The on-site education can be general or specific food safety training tailored to your establishment’s needs. This food safety training usually takes one to two hours and is free of charge.

Southwest District Health also offers a certified Health District course that complies with the Idaho Food Code, “Demonstration of Knowledge” requirements; however, the course is only offered at pre-selected venues throughout the six county Health District. The cost for the four hour course is $35 per student. For more information on the "certified" course please go to Certified Food Safety Class.

If you have questions, or would like to set up an on-site food training opportunity, please call 455-5400.

Food Safety Links:
2016 Idaho Food Code
Food Inspection Results
FDA Recalls
USDA Recalls
Government food safety information (FoodSafety.gov)
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service
Food safety fact sheets in several languages
Food Safety Employee Guide
Food Safety Preparation and Practices
State Food Program
Service Animal Requirements