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It's a New Day in Public Health.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Contact the Food Safety and Sanitation Program

AGENCY JURISDICTION--Updates

The Department of Health no longer has food regulatory authority in hospitals, nursing homes, child care facilities, facilities licensed by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, many group homes, and churches, and other not-for-profit religious organizations. For information regarding child care facilities, please contact the Department of Children and Families

For information regarding group homes that serve persons with disabilities, please contact the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

For information regarding hospitals and nursing homes, please contact the Agency for Health Care Administration.  View the Agency for Health Care Administration's "Monitoring of Hospitals and Nursing Home Food Service Operations" notice.

1. 1. Who regulates food operations?

Food Safety in Florida is regulated by multiple agencies. The main three are: the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Additionally, the following agencies regulate food services for some of their licensees: Department of Children and Families (child care facilities, child caring agencies, etc.), Agency for Health Care Administration (hospitals and nursing homes), Agency for Persons with Disabilities (group homes that support and provide services for persons with disabilities).

(i) Generally, the Department of Health regulates food service establishments located in institutional settings (such as schools, assisted living facilities, adult day cares, and detention facilities), civic and fraternal organizations, bars and lounges that don't prepare foods, and theaters that limit their food service to items customarily served at theaters (such as beverages, popcorn, hotdogs and nachos).  For info, contact one of our local health departments or call (850) 245-4277.

(ii) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services generally regulates whole-sale food operations, convenience stores, grocery stores, food processing operations, food storage/warehouse operation and non-alcoholic beverage operations (such as juice or smoothie bars and coffee houses). They can be reached by telephone at (850) 245-5520.

(iii) The Department of Business and Professional Regulation regulates restaurants, most mobile food vehicles, caterers, and most public food service events. You can reach their Customer Contact Center by calling (850) 487-1395 or you can file a complaint on line at https://www.myfloridalicense.com/complaintwizard

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2. 2. Can I conduct a food operation from my home?

No, you cannot conduct a food operation from your private residence. This prohibition applies to all of the food regulatory agencies in Florida (Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Department of Health).

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3. 3. Is my not-for-profit organization required to be licensed in order to start a food operation?

In most incidences, not-for-profit organization must have a license in  order to provide food to the public. If you will provide services that are regulated by the Department of Health or the Department of Agriculture, your activities require a license. If they do not, please contact the Department of Business and Professional Regulation regarding possible licensing requirements by email or by calling (850) 487-1395.  For churches and other not-for-profit religious organizations, typically, your food service activities are not regulated by a food regulating agency; however, bakeries and food activity that go beyond immediate onsite portioning food service, such as processing, are regulated by the Department of Agriculture.

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4. 4. I want to start a cake baking business, so what do I need to do?

Bakeries and baked goods operations are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Please click the link for more information

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5. 5. I currently have a hardware and appliance store, but I would like to begin to sell some packaged food items, such as candy, potato chips, soft drinks, etc. How do I get started?

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services generally regulates food operations that only sell packaged food items. They also regulate whole-sale food operations, convenience stores, grocery stores, food processing operations, food storage/warehouse operation and non-alcoholic beverage operations (such as juice or smoothie bars and coffee houses). They can be telephone at (850) 245-5520.

You may complete and submit a consumer complaint form on line to Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

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6. 6. I have an existing food operation and I want to begin to bottle and sale my product to other food operations.

An operation that sells food items to another establishment, who in turn re-sales that item to the consumer is considered wholesale operation. Wholesale operations are under the licensing and inspection authority of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. You can call them at (850) 245-5520 or check out their licensing criteria.

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7. 7. How do I become a Certified Food Manager?

In order to become a Certified Food Manager for Department of Health regulated facilities, you must pass an examination provided by an approved provider. For more information and a listing of approved providers, see the Food Manager Certification page.

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8. 8. Where can I take the Food Manager Certification Examination?

The locations for the certified food manager examination is determine by the examination provider. You may for more information and a listing of approved providers, see the Food Manager Certification page.

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9. 9. What is food worker training?

Public food worker training is required of establishment licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation public food service establishments.

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10. 10. I would like to sell my product to at the wholesale level or to another food operation. How do I get started?

An operation that sells food items to another establishment, who in turn re-sales that item to the consumer is considered wholesale operation. Wholesale operations are under the licensing and inspection authority of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. You can call them at (850) 245-5520 or check out their licensing criteria.

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11. 11. How do I make a complaint about the cleanliness, employee practices, and/or sanitation of a school, detention facility, or other type of institutional cafeteria?

To make this complaint, contact one of your local health departments.

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12. 12. How do I make a complaint about the cleanliness, employee practices, and/or sanitation of a restaurant?

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. To make this complaint, visit (www.myfloridalicense.com) or call the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Hotels and Restaurants at (850) 487-1395

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13. 13. I would like to make a complaint about the cleanliness, employee practices, and/or sanitation of a grocery store or convenience store.

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing (F.S. 668.6076).  To make this complaint complete the Consumer Complaint form or call the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Food Safety at (850) 245-5520.

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14. 14. How do I report that I got sick from eating food at a food operation or food event?

Please contact one of our local health departments.  Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing (F.S. 668.6076).   You may send an email to Food.poisoning@flhealth.gov or Complaint Form .


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15. 15. What is a temporary event?

For Department of Health regulated events, a temporary event is any event offering food service on the premises of a food service establishment under the licensing authority of the Department of Health. These events are at a fixed location for a temporary period of time not to exceed any combination of 18 days within a calendar year and in conjunction with a single event or celebration.

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16. 16. How do I find out information on food borne illnesses?

Food borne illness data is routinely collected. See our Food and Waterborne Disease Program, here.

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