Title: Retail Food Handler / Retail Mobile Food Handler Licenses
Description: Retail food handlers sell food directly to the end consumer. Examples of retail businesses regulated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) include grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, and meat markets. Retail businesses can also be regulated and inspected by local public health agencies and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Creation Date: 9/11/2008 2:17:01 PM
Modification Date: 11/22/2019 1:15:23 PM
Agency Name: Agriculture (MDA), Minnesota Department of
Agency URL: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/
Agency Description: The mission of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is to enhance Minnesotans' quality of life by ensuring the integrity of our food supply, the health of our environment, and the strength of our agricultural economy.
Agency Phone: 651-201-6000
Agency Fax: Agency URL: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/
625 N. Robert Street
Division Name: Dairy and Food Inspection Division
Division Phone: 651-201-6081 -Starting a food business
Division Fax: Division URL:
Starting a food business - email@example.com
Licensing - firstname.lastname@example.org
Renewal URL: https://www2.mda.state.mn.us/webapp/erenewal/login.jsp
Food License Types:
Retail Food Handler
A retail food establishment is an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends or otherwise provides food and beverages for human consumption. The food is sold directly to the consumer or indirectly through a delivery service. Some examples of retail food establishments include, but are not limited to: grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, meat stores, wineries, brewery taprooms, and vending machines. Prior to engaging in these activities, a person must obtain a license from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture as required by Minn. Stat. Chapter 28A. The MDA also delegates it's authority to license and inspect facilities to seven agencies within the state who enforce the same food laws and regulations as the MDA.
You will need to work closely with your inspector and have the facility inspected and licensed prior to obtaining or selling food. The inspector will verify that the establishment meets zoning requirements, has an approved water source, and the facility is constructed in accordance with the Minnesota Food Code. Your inspector will also verify that food is obtained from approved sources, prepared, stored, and sold in a safe manner, and is properly labeled. The Retail Food Handler's license period is from July 1st to June 30th the following year.
The MDA's Retail Food Program conducts inspections in these categories:
Retail Food Handler (English)
Retail Food Handler (Hmong)
Retail Food Handler (Somali)
Retail Food Handler (Spanish)
Retail Food Handler/Seasonal Permanent Food Stand (English)
Retail Food Handler/Seasonal Permanent Food Stand (Hmong)
Retail Food Handler/Seasonal Permanent Food Stand (Somali)
Retail Food Handler/Seasonal Permanent Food Stand (Spanish)
If you operate solely within one of the following jurisdictions, please contact the delegated agency assigned to that area:
Retail Mobile Food Handler
Retail mobile food handlers sell food directly to the end consumer from temporary stands or mobile locations. Prior to commencing operation you will need to work with your inspector to ensure that the mobile unit meets the MN Food Code requirements so that food is stored, prepared and held in a safe manner. There are several different types of retail mobile operations that have different licensing and regulatory requirements. Your inspector will help you obtain the type of license that best suits your needs. The licensing period for all Retail Mobile Food Handler licenses are from April 1st to March 31st the following year.
Retail Mobile Food Handler Types
- Mobile Food Unit - This type of business operates 21 days or less in one location and can produce food on site within an enclosed, moveable space. A plan review is required prior to licensing.
- Seasonal Temporary Food Stand - This type of business operates 21 days or less in one location and can produce food on site with protection from weather and contamination. A plan review is required prior to licensing.
- Retail Food Vehicle/Portable Structure or Cart - This type of business operates up to 365 days per year and can sell prepackaged food or raw produce only. A plan review is not required for this license.
- Special Event Food Stand - This type of business operates up to 10 days per year and can produce food on site or sell prepackaged food. A plan review is not required for this license. You can now apply for this license type online
- Food Cart - This type of business is a food and/or beverage service establishment that is a non-motorized vehicle that is self-propelled by the operator. A plan review is required prior to licensing.
Retail mobile stands are inspected by the Retail Food Program within the Food and Feed Safety Division. Some stands are also inspected and regulated by local public health agencies and the Minnesota Department of Health. If you operate solely within one of the following jurisdictions, please contact the delegated agency assigned to that area:
Food Business Licensing and Food Safety Wizard
Cottage Food Law
Food License Exclusions and Exemptions
Special Event Food Stand License
Rules: 4626.0010 - .2020
Period of Issuance:
The Retail Food Handler's license period is from July 1st to June 30th the following year.
The licensing period for all Retail Mobile Food Handler licenses are from April 1st to March 31st the following year.
Length of Determination: Seven days to one month.
License Detail URL:
Licensing Information Search
Online Licensing System
Licenses & Inspections Locator