Food Safety FAQ

How do I start a food service establishment in the City of Detroit?

Please visit the Licensing page or contact the food safety unit at (313)876-0135 for information on starting a food service establishment.

What is the next step after my food service license has been approved?

The next step is to apply for your business license at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center located at 2 Woodward, Ste. 401, Detroit, MI 48226, (313)224-3179

Do I need a food handler’s card to work in a food service establishment in the City of Detroit?

No, a food handler’s card is not required, however, your employer may request that you obtain one. A person certified as a food manager (unless exempt) is required for each establishment. See more on the food safety education page.

Is the food handler’s card or certified food manager certificate a permit/license to sell food?

No, these certificates are not a permit or license to sell food. A food service license must be obtained. Please view the licensing page for more information on obtaining a food service license.

Can I cook and sell food prepared from my home kitchen?

Only specific food items that fall under the State of Michigan Cottage Food Law can be prepared from your home kitchen. Read more on State of Michigan website.

Can I grill and sell food in the City of Detroit?

Unauthorized cooking in parking lots, at gas stations, car washes, on street corners/sidewalks, or in empty lots, etc. is prohibited. Grilling may be allowed as part of an event or festival approved by the Detroit City Council. Please contact the City Clerk’s office at (313) 224-3260 or learn more on special events page.

When do I need a temporary food license?

A temporary food license is required when selling or giving away food to the public. Please view the temporary events page for more information.

Do I need a food service license to sell pre-packaged, non-perishable food items?

No, a food service license is not needed for selling commercially packaged shelf stable items, but a vendor’s license must be obtained from the Business License Department located in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center at 2 Woodward, Ste. 401, Detroit, MI 48226, (313) 224-3179

How do I make a complaint or report a foodborne illness for a food establishment in the City of Detroit?

You may contact the Detroit Health Department Food Safety Unit at (313) 876-0135 or complete the online complaint form.

When does the food service license expire?

The food service license expires each year on April 30th and must be renewed every year. Payments can be made by business check, cashier’s check, money order, or by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover). Licenses may also now be renewed online.

Who is exempt from Health Department licensure?

Michigan Food Law (Act 92 of 2000, as amended) section 289.4105 states that the following types of establishments are exempt from licensure by the Health Department. Please see the Michigan Food Law for a complete list.

  • A person that is offering only whole uncut fresh fruits and vegetables directly to consumers.
  • Consumers or nonprofit cooperatives of consumers in compliance with the nonprofit corporation act, 1982 PA 162, MCL 450.2101 to 450.3192, providing products from regulated sources only for their own use.
  • A temporary food establishment with no food preparation using only single-service articles and serving only non-potentially-hazardous food or beverage.
  • A retail food establishment that does both of the following:
    1. Only sells prepackaged, non-potentially-hazardous foods.
    2. Offers only an incidental amount of food, such as the sale of single-service packages.
  • A mobile food establishment, such as an ice cream truck, that offers only prepackaged, single-serving frozen desserts.
  • An event not open to the general public held by a nonprofit trade association representing food establishments, suppliers, or manufacturers where limited food preparation takes place for the purpose of advertising, displaying, promoting, and sampling prepared food.