Partnering to Serve Safe Food

Whether selling food from a home kitchen or a national restaurant brand, food safety should be at the forefront. The Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code establishes licensing requirements and rules to set a minimum standard of food safety practices patrons can count on. A food license is required for most scenarios in which food or beverage is being sold to other people. There are several types of food licenses based upon the type of food being sold and the manner in which it is prepared or sold. I would like to put a pic or graphic that would represent each type of food operation by each section.

Get or Renew Your License

Restaurants, Cafeterias & Grocery Stores (Food Service Operations & Retail Food Establishments) –  A Food Service Operation (FSO) license is required for restaurants, cafeterias and other operations that prepare and sell individual servings of food.

A Retail Food Establishment (RFE) license is required for grocery stores and gas stations that sell prepackaged food items or multiple food portions.

Both FSO and RFE licenses expire March 1 of each year. A new license must be applied for each year. The Union County Health Department mails or emails license applications in mid to late January of each year to all facilities currently licensed by the Union County Health Department. Completed application and fee must be postmarked or received by our office before close of business on March 1.

Food Truck (Mobile Units)

Food Truck (Mobile Units):  A mobile food license is required for food service operations that are typically self-contained and move locations at least once every 40 days. Food trucks are the most notable type of mobile unit. A mobile food license allows the unit to operate anywhere in Ohio. Licenses are issued by the local health department in the home county of the owner of the mobile unit. Mobile food licenses expire March 1 of each year. A new license must be applied for each year. A license cannot be issued until the Union County Health Department receives an application, license fee and conducts a pre-license inspection.

Looking to open your own food truck? Visit our OPENING A RESTAURANT page for what you need to know.

Food Service License Application - Mobile
Mobile Food Requirements
Food Services Fee Schedule

Concession Stands (Temporaries)

Concession Stands (Temporaries) – A temporary food license is required for concession stands selling hot or cold foods at events that are typically a few days in length. This type of license is often used by fundraising groups or organizations that only sell food at one or two events a year. A concession stand that only sells canned or bottled drinks or prepackaged snacks or candy does not typically need a temporary food license. A temporary food license is typically valid for five days. A temporary food license application and license fee should be received at least 10 days prior to your event.

Food Service License Application - Temporaries
Guide to Temporary Food Service Operation
Food Services Fee Schedule


Vending – A food license is typically required if a location or business has vending machines that dispense foods that are hot, cold or frozen, fountain drinks, or coffee. A vending license is not required if the machine only dispenses canned or bottled drinks or prepackaged snacks or candies that do not need temperature control. Vending food licenses expire March 1 of each year. A new license must be applied for each year. Contact our office for specifications as many variables determine licensing needs.

Food Service License Application - Vending
Food Services Fee Schedule

Home Bakery

Home Bakery – A home bakery license is needed if a home baker is selling baked goods that require temperature control (such as cheese cakes, cream pies, custard pies, pumpkin pies, etc.). These items are potentially hazardous food items because they require temperature control to help prevent the rapid and progressive growth of bacteria. Home bakery licenses are issued by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Cost is $10 per year and due at time of inspection. A recent water sample may also be needed if the home bakery uses a well for drinking water.

Click here to go to the OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE to learn more.

Home Bakery Fact Sheet

Cottage Foods

Cottage Foods – A Cottage Food Production Operation is exempt from being licensed and inspected for the production of cottage foods but does have labeling requirements. Cottage Foods are typically bakery goods such as cookies, cakes, fruit pies, breads, jams, jellies, maple syrup, honey and dried spices and herbs that do not need to be temperature controlled. Cottage food operations fall under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Click here to go to the OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE to learn more.

Cottage Food Fact Sheet

Who Doesn’t Need a Food License?

The Ohio Administrative Code lists many types of food producers or scenarios in which a food license is not required to sell or provide food products. Many of these are related to Cottage Food Production Operations (described above), farmers markets and roadside produce stands, in-home daycare providers, and church or school fundraising events that are only held a few times a year.

Please contact our sanitarian team at 937.642.2053 to determine your licensing needs.

Fees for the food licensing and inspection program are set in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code 3717.07. The full Environmental Health Fee Schedule for the Union County Health Department is available in PDF here: Environmental Health Fee Schedule