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Food and Facilities Licensing

Licensing Services - Food Service Facility


Food Allergen Awareness and Training | Application Process |  New Facility/Fixed Location |  Change of Ownership |  Other Required Licenses |  Certified Food Service Manager | Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plan |Mobile Unit


Who must submit a food service facility license application?
Any person planning to distribute, prepare, handle, or dispense food for public consumption with or without charge.

What constitutes a food service facility?
"Food Service Facility" means restaurants, coffee shops, cafeterias, short order cafés, luncheonettes, taverns, sandwich stands, soda fountains, retail markets, and food operations in industries, institutions, hospitals, clubs, schools, camps, churches, catering kitchens, commissaries, or similar places in which food or drink is prepared for sale or for service on the premises or elsewhere, or any other operations where food is served or provided for the public with or without charge. Code of Maryland Regulations – 10.15.03 – Food Service Facilities and Montgomery County Code – Chapter 15 – Eating and Drinking Establishments.  Home kitchens will not be licensed!

When must one apply for a food service license?
A license must be obtained prior to opening a business. Licenses expire on December 31st and must be renewed each year. (A Use and Occupancy Permit must be obtained through the Department of Permitting Services at 240-777-6200. Many businesses also are required to have a Trader’s License. To determine if you need a Trader’s License, contact the Montgomery County Circuit Court, Business Licenses Office at 240-777-9460.

How does one obtain a license to sell food?
Licenses are issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, Licensure and Regulatory Services.  Licenses are not transferable.

Food Allergen Awareness and Training 

With approximately 15 million Americans affected by food allergies each year, Montgomery County is trying to create a safer dining out experience for an individual and families managing food allergies. Although most food allergies cause relatively mild to minor symptoms, some food allergies can cause severe reactions, and may even be life-threatening. While there is no cure for food allergies, strict avoidance of food allergens, early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent serious health consequences.

Maryland Code Annotated, Health-General 21-330.2(A)
As of March 1, 2014, state law requires that "a food establishment shall display prominently in the staff area of the food establishment a poster related to food allergy awareness that includes information regarding the risk of an allergic reaction." 

Montgomery County Bill 33-16
On November 1, 2016, the Montgomery County Council, sitting as the Board of Health, went a step further and enacted Bill 33-16, Eating and Drinking Establishments -Food Allergen Awareness Training. 

Effective July 1, 2017, Bill 33-16 requires all “Eating and Drinking Establishments”, which are required to be under the immediate control of a certified food service manager, to have on the premises at all times when food is being prepared or served, an employee who has completed a food allergen awareness training course and passed a test as required by this Regulation to protect the health of county residents.

A trained employee with a valid certification must be on the premise at all times when food is being prepared or served in order to meet compliance.

How do I take a Food Allergen Awareness Training?
Anyone may take the training. The applicant must successfully complete one of the approved online Food Allergen Awareness Training courses and pass the exam. Once completed, the applicant will receive a certificate to show proof of completion. The certificate is valid for five years from the initial completion date of the approved course.

Approved Food Allergen Awareness Training courses
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. FARE partnered with two trusted resources, the National Restaurant Association and MenuTrinfo, LLC for endorsement of their food allergen training programs. To find out more about FARE or these training programs, please visit the FARE website at:  http://www.foodallergy.org/training-programs. You may also go directly to the course web links below.

These trainings are the only food allergen awareness courses approved by the Department for compliance with Montgomery County Bill 33-16.

National Restaurant Association: https://www.servsafe.com/allergens 
MenuTrinfo, LLC approved training includes both AllerTrain™ and AllerTrain Lite™: http://allertrain.com/
AboveTraining/StateFoodSafety.com: https://www.statefoodsafety.com/food-allergens
TAP Series:  http://www.tapseries.com
 

Food Service Facility License Application Process

Please submit plans directly to Licensure and Regulatory Services; other departments do not forward plans to this office. Issuance of building or electrical permits does not indicate Licensure and Regulatory Services’ approval. Licensure and Regulatory Services’ approval must be obtained before any construction starts.

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New Facility/Fixed Location

Apply:
The application, appropriate fee, menu, HACCP flow charts, Worker's Compensation Insurance documentation, and a set of complete plans must be submitted.

Review:
The Environmental Health Specialist assigned will review the plans and submitted information within 14 days of submittal. Incomplete submittals may extend the time for review.

Schedule:
Once plans are approved and the work is completed, call at least one week in advance to schedule a compliance inspection.

Licensure & Regulatory Services staff are available to answer questions (Monday – Friday) 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at  240-777-3986.

Change of Ownership/Fixed Location

Apply:
The application, appropriate fee, menu, HACCP flow charts, and Worker’s Compensation Insurance documentation must be submitted.  Licenses are not transferable.

Submit and Approve:
Plans must be submitted and approved prior to any renovations of the facility.

Review:
The application and/or plans will be reviewed. An inspection may be conducted at the discretion of the Environmental Health Specialist. Any required repairs will be noted and must be completed prior to approval. Once approval is granted, the license will be sent to the applicant.

What Other Licenses Might I Need?

Zoning, building, electrical, use & occupancy, and well & septic issues are regulated by the Department of Permitting Services at 240-777-0311

The following cities have their own zoning approval:

  • Rockville 301-309-3250
  • Gaithersburg 301-258-6330
  • Laytonsville 301-869-0042
  • Poolesville 301-428-8927
  • Barnesville 301-972-8114
  • Washington Grove 301-926-2256

Fire code issues are regulated by the Montgomery County Fire Marshall.  Call 240-777-0311.

Plumbing issues are regulated by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission 301-206-8000, except for the City of Rockville 301-309-3250.

Alcoholic beverage licenses are regulated by the Board of License Commissioners.  Call 240-777-1999.

A Montgomery County Certified Food Service Manager must be on the premises whenever the facility is being operated.  See information below.

Certified Food Service Manager

Montgomery County Code 15-8(b)(2) states a licensee must not operate a food service facility unless the facility is under the immediate control of a Certified Food Service Manager.

How do I become a Certified Food Service Manager?
Anyone may be certified as an Food Service Manager. The applicant must successfully complete an approved Food Service Manager's course, and file an application with Licensure and Regulatory Services to receive a Certified Food Service Manager’s photo identification card. The course may be taken on-line or in a classroom. The exam must be taken at a proctored location. Online test certificates will not be accepted. The card is valid for three years from the initial completion date of the approved course.

The applicant must come to the Department of Health and Human Services, Licensure and Regulatory Services office (255 Rockville Pike, Suite 100, 1st floor, Rockville, MD) to obtain a photo identification card. The office hours are Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Call 240-777-3986 for more information.

To receive a new certification card you must have the following:

  • Original certificate/document that shows you passed an approved course.  Contact  ANSI for more information.
  • Complete an application.
  • Provide government issued photo identification.
  • Pay the appropriate fee. (Check, Money Order, payable to "Montgomery County, Maryland", Visa or MasterCard)

To renew a certification card you must bring the following:

  • Original certificate/document that shows you passed an approved re-certification course.  Contact ANSI for more information.
  • Complete an application.
  • Provide your current card.
  • Pay the appropriate license fee. (Check, Money Order, payable to "Montgomery County, Maryland", Visa or MasterCard)

Or

  • Proof of completing an approved self-inspection. Contact ANSI for more information.
  • Complete an application.
  • Provide your current card.
  • Pay the appropriate license fee. (Check, Money Order, payable to "Montgomery County, Maryland", Visa or MasterCard)

To transfer certification credentials from other Maryland counties:

  • Provide your current card.
  • Complete an application.
  • Pay the appropriate license fee. (Check or money order, payable to "Montgomery County, Maryland", Visa or MasterCard)

Cards issued by other jurisdictions will be considered for transfer on a case-by-case basis.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plan

The frequency of food service facility inspections is based on the food-
borne illness risk assessment of the food being prepared at the facility.  Based on the risk, each facility is designated as high, medium or low priority.  High priority facilities prepare food products a day or more in advance or utilize any combination of two or more processes such as cooking, cooling, reheating or holding hot food.  Moderate priority facilities prepare food products which are served on the same day.  A low priority facility serves prepackaged, potentially hazardous foods.  These facilities generally offer limited sales of ice cream, milk and eggs.e

The person-in-charge of a high or moderate priority food service facility shall ensure that:

A HACCP plan is:

(1) In compliance with the Code of Maryland Regulation 10.15.03;

(2) Within the food preparation area during operation;

(3) Readily accessible to employees at all times; and

(4) Updated as follows:

(a) When a change in food processes or procedures change one or more CCP; and

(b) At least once every five years;

An employee involved in food preparation is trained in the HACCP procedures; and

C. Changes to the HACCP plan are submitted to the approving authority before implementation of the HACCP plan.

Designate as a high priority facility, a facility that:

(a) Is a health care facility; or

(b) Serves potentially hazardous food that is prepared:

(i) A day or more in advance of service; or

(ii) Using food preparation methods that require the food to pass through the temperature range of 41°F to 135°F two or more times before service, such as cooking, cooling, and then reheating.  

Designate as a moderate priority facility, a facility that serves potentially hazardous food:

(a) That is prepared using methods that require the food to pass through the temperature range of 41°F to 135°F not more than one time before service, such as cooking, hot holding, and then serving; or

(b) That is cut, assembled, or packaged on the premises, such as meats.

 Designate as a low priority facility, a facility that serves:

(a) Commercially packaged potentially hazardous foods directly to the consumer;

(b) Non-potentially hazardous food that is cut, assembled, or packaged on the premises, such as candy, popcorn, and baked goods; or

(c) Hand dipped ice cream. 

 

 

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