All food facilities (permanent, temporary, fixed, or mobile) are required to obtain a license before beginning operations. Food service licenses are non-transferrable.
Renewing a food service license
Licenses expire every year on April 30th. Renewal applications and invoices will be sent in the mail. Business checks, cashier’s checks, and money orders should be made payable to ‘City of Detroit’. Online credit card payments are now also being accepted. Online payment is for renewals only, all other payments (new owner, plan review, etc.) must be submitted in person, by mail, or by calling the Food Safety Unit at (313) 876-0135 to pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover).
Purchasing or opening a food establishment
If you are planning on purchasing or opening a food establishment there are several steps that must be taken. Below is information to give you an approximate idea of what to expect. Licenses are not transferrable - a new license must be obtained every time there is a change in facility ownership.
If the facility is open and operating
- You may want to review the previous inspection reports from the facility to see if there are any items that may be in need of correction. Be sure to review any items related to equipment, ventilation, or physical facilities, as these can be costly to repair.
- Complete and submit a Change of Ownership form along with:
- Proposed menu
- Standard operating procedures
- Certified Food Manager certificate
- Allergen training certificate (unless exempt)
If the facility has been closed
Please contact the Food Safety Unit at (313) 876-0135 to determine what steps will need to be taken. Factors such as how long the facility has been closed, and any facility or equipment changes will determine whether a plan review will be needed.
If a plan review is not needed, after submitting all required documents and fees, the area inspector will review the submitted documents and then schedule an inspection to review the facility and food safety procedures. If everything is found to be in compliance with the Michigan Food Law and Food Code, approval to begin operating will be given. You will then receive a routine inspection approximately every 6 months.
Constructing a new food establishment or remodeling an existing establishment
A plan review must be submitted to the Detroit Health Department and approved before construction can begin. Please see the plan review page for more information.
A temporary food establishment operates at a fixed location for a period not to exceed 14 consecutive days. Please see the temporary events page for more information.
Mobile/Special Transitory Food Unit (STFU) licenses
There are two types of licenses for mobile food establishments such as food trucks, hot dog carts, ice cream trucks, or similar. Each license type has its own requirements for licensing, inspections, and plan review. Please see the mobile food establishments and special transitory food unit’s page for more information.
Note: There is no specific catering license. A catering business is licensed as a Food Service Restaurant and must meet all of the requirements for a restaurant.