Definitions & Types of Food Establishments
What is a food establishment?
A food establishment is a business that stores, prepares, packages, serves or provides food for people to eat. This may be a:
- Grocery, market, or convenience store
- Food stand or food truck
- School or institution
- Vending machine
- Retail bakery
A food establishment may also directly or indirectly deliver food, such as home grocery delivery or a restaurant takeout order.
A restaurant prepares or provides service, food, and beverages to customers for more than 21 days per year. The beverages they sell may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
A grocery establishment sells food and food accessories for people to use, make, or eat at home. This may include:
- Meat, poultry, or fish
- bread or baked items
- Cereal and other dry goods
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products
Some grocery establishments also sell household items.
A confectionary establishment sells ready-to-eat snacks and beverages like:
- Chips, crackers, or popcorn
- Cookies and bulk candy
- Pop, milk, or juice
- Ice cream and donuts
- TV dinners
Confectionary licenses are often held by businesses that serve another purpose, such as:
- Hardware stores
- Gas stations and car washes
- Dollar stores
- Tobacco shops or video stores
If the business has a hand sink and 3-compartment sink for washing utensils and equipment, they can also sell self-serve coffee and pastries. A commercial-grade microwave may also be available for customers to heat their food.
Potentially hazardous foods should always be stored and displayed in approved commercial equipment.
A direct farm market where growers can sell their goods directly to the consumer.
A food cart is a mobile food and beverage service. Food is sold from a non-motorized vehicle that is moved by its operator. All food food carts must be operated in compliance with the Minnesota Food Code.
A food and beverage service housed in a motorized vehicle or trailer that can be easily moved to another location.
Short Term Food Vendor
A food and beverage service vendor with a food stand that is disassembled and moved from location to location, but which operates no more than 10 days annually at any one civic event.
A vendor who sells food and beverages at multiple community events throughout the year. A maximum of two stands are allowed to operate for each permit.
All vending machines must comply with National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF), and/or Minnesota Rules, 1550.3200 to 1550.3320.
For more information on food establishment definitions, please review License and Consumer Services Food Related License Definitions.
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Last updated Mar 20, 2019