If you have or are thinking of starting a business selling prepared foods, you need to consider how Idaho regulates the prepared food industry, lists the types of food establishments that are subject to the Idaho Food Code, and explains the licensing process.
How Is the Prepared Food Industry Regulated in Idaho?
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) is the regulatory authority for businesses selling prepared foods (food that is ready for consumption).
IDHW prepares rules, standards, and policies and provides requirements for licensing, inspections, business plan reviews, employee restrictions, and license suspensions for food establishments.
What Types of Food Establishments Are Subject to the Idaho Food Code?
Restaurants And Related Businesses
Temporary food facilities
Mobile food facilities, including:
Trucks, vans, or trailers
Other moveable food service with or without wheels
Health food stores
Meat and/or fish markets • Neighborhood markets
Food-, water-, and beverage-processing and bottling facilities, including:
Businesses that are not inspected for food safety by a federal agency
Businesses that manufacture, process, and distribute food, water, and beverages within Idaho
These lists are not exhaustive, but they give an idea of the types of businesses that must follow Idaho regulations for food establishments serving prepared foods.
Businesses That Are Not Sub- Ject to the Idaho Food Code for Prepared Foods Include
Agricultural markets, including farmers’ markets and roadside stands that offer only cottage foods or foods that do not need time and temperature control for safety (TCS)
Low-risk food establishments offering only non-TCS foods
A person or business must have a valid license from IDHW to operate a food establishment. To do this, a business owner must
Submit an application to IDHW.
Pay the applicable license fees at the time the application is submitted.
Comply with the Idaho State Code related to prepared foods.
Allowregulatorstoaccesstheirnonexemptfoodestablishmenttoproviderequiredinformationfor application and inspection processes.
License Forms and Due Dates
Application forms can be accessed at https://www.cdhd.Idaho.gov/eh-food-forms.php.
The application and license fee for new licenses must be submitted at least 30 calendar days before the planned opening date.
The renewal application and license fee required to renew a license must be submitted by December 1 each year since all licenses expire on December 31.
License Application Contents
The application will ask for the following information:
Name and contact information
The business by ownership type (i.e., association, corporation, individual, partnership, other legal entity). Depending on the type of ownership, the application may also ask for names and contact information for
the legal owners and officers of the business
the local resident agent, if one is required
The person applying
The person responsible for the food establishment
The immediate supervisor, regional manager, etc., of the person applying, if applicable
Type (i.e., mobile, stationary, temporary, permanent)
Items related to food preparation and safety (e.g., food equipment and utensils)
Signed statement attesting to the accuracy of the information provided and an affirmation that the applicant will comply with the Idaho Food Code and allow regulatory access to the establishment.
Title 39, Chapter 16 of the Idaho Statutes provides more detail: https://legislature.idaho.gov/statutesrules/idstat/Title39/T39CH16/. To read the Idaho Food Code in its entirety, see https://cdhd.idaho.gov/pdfs/food/Full-Idaho-Food-Code-2016.pdf. Also, you can read Idaho: Starting a Specialty Food Business (2018) at https://agri.idaho.gov/main/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2018_Specialty_Foods_Manual_WEB.pdf.
Authors: Kirsten Gooden, Student, College of Law, University of Idaho, Christy Dearien, Research Associate, Grant and Project Development, University of Idaho, John Rumel, Professor, College of Law, University of Idaho, Paul Lewin, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, University of Idaho
PLEASE NOTE: This handout does not offer or substitute for legal or tax advice.
This work was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Award No. 2016-69006-24831 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.