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

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Hygiene Codes and Standards

Contact the Food Safety and Sanitation Program

Primary Food Regulatory Agencies in Florida

In Florida, three agencies share responsibilities for ensuring that only safe, and wholesome food is provided to the public. Those agencies are: the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR) and the Department of Health (DOH).

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services conducts inspection on grocery stores, food processing plants, food storage, and distribution points.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation licenses and inspects restaurants, mobile food vehicles, and caterers.

The Department of Health is responsible for working with food service establishments that include institutions, schools, civic or fraternal organizations, bars and lounges, and theaters that serve traditional theater foods (such as soft drinks, popcorn, hot dogs, etc.), and locations that participate in the USDA Afterschool Meal Program. The Department of Health also addresses temporary food events, mobile food units, and vending machines that operate at or through any of these facilities. County Health Departments inspect and issue food certificates to these facilities. Unless exempted, these food operations need to comply with food manager certification requirements.

Download Files

Below you will find links to the Department’s Food Safety and Sanitation Florida Administrative Code (FAC), Florida Statute, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 2013 Food Code (portions adopted by reference), application for sanitation certificate, application for plan review, the plan review guide, temporary event application, brochure for Preventing Foodborne Illness and more. If you plan on opening or operating a food service establishment that falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health, you should review and become familiar with these documents. All files are in a PDF format.

Apply for a Sanitation Certificate

Sanitation Certificates, also called permits, for Department of Health-regulated food service establishment are issued by the local Department of Health office, the County Health Department, in the county where the facility is located. 

To apply for a sanitation certificate and open a food service establishment with the Department of Health, you must provide and complete the following information 90 days in advance before construction or modification begins and opening of the establishment. A proposed menu and set of plans must accompany the application for plan review. Plans must be drawn to scale, but do not have to be engineered or architectural drawings (see Plan Review Guide for more required plan details/schedules). The Plan Review Guide is designed to assist applicants to consider what components or equipment are applicable to their particular food operation. You must contact the local Department office for fee amounts, payment options and information on how best to submit the documents to their office.

Health Issues

Many of the reported cases of foodborne illness are caused by bacteria or by the toxins (poisons) produced by bacteria. Bacteria multiply extremely fast when food is kept at an unsafe temperature (above 41 and below 135 degrees Fahrenheit). Factors that can contribute to foodborne illnesses are: 

  • Improper handwashing and touching ready to eat foods with bare hands
  • Improper storage of food (inadequate refrigeration temperature or hot holding temperature)
  • Improper washing of hands and fingernails
  • Improperly cooling foods
  • Cross contamination (e.g., from uncooked meat to salad fixings)
  • Improperly cleaned and sanitized eating and cooking utensils, work areas, and equipment
  • Contamination of food, utensils, and equipment from flies, roaches, and other pests. 

The Department developed an informational brochure called "Preventing Food Contamination." Below are some consumer links to report a foodborne illness and information about foodborne illness and its prevention. Selecting these links will open a new window or PDF document: 


If you have any general questions about Department of Health Food Hygiene Facility Sanitation Certificate, contact the local Department of Health office, the County Health Department, Office of Environmental Health, in the county where the food service establishment is or will be located.

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.