Restaurants & Grocery Stores


Retail Food Establishment- means a food establishment that sells to consumer customers food, or food products, intended for preparation or consumption off the premises.

Retail Food Service Establishment- means a food establishment where food is prepared or served for individual portion service intended for consumption on the premises or is subject to Iowa sales tax


2018 RAGBRAI Information


Click on Tabs above

Laws and Regulations
• Iowa Food Code and FDA Food Codes

Basic Requirements
• Information on the basic requirements of operating a Food Establishment in the State of Iowa

• Retail Food Service Establishment license application

Food Manager Resources
• Guidance documents for running your Food Establishment




  • Completed license applications and documents must be submitted to the appropriate Regulatory Authority at least 30 days prior to the anticipated opening date.

  • A separate license must be applied for at each location where food production, sales or service take place.

  • A license is non-transferable between locations or ownership.

  • Once the application, other required documents and fees are received and processed, the Department will review the documents.  Once the application is processed the applicant will be mailed or e-mailed the assigned inspector’s contact information.  The applicant is responsible for contacting the inspector to schedule a pre-operational inspection.

  • Plan submission is required; the Department will review the plans and communicate the results of the plan review to the applicant. Plan reviews generally take 3 to 4 weeks. It would be beneficial to submit the application prior to beginning construction, remodeling, or alteration of a facility. There is no fee for plan review. Please note, failure to provide all required information could delay plan approval. If you are remodeling a licensed facility already owned by you, submit plans only and notify your inspector.


 Please check the Regulatory Authorities map to determine the appropriate food inspection and licensing agency for your area. 

Only individuals who will be operating a food establishment under the jurisdiction of the Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) should submit their license application and corresponding fee(s) to DIA at the address below.  All other applicants should mail their license application and fees to their local regulatory authority.

If your food establishment is licensed and inspected by the DIA's Food and Consumer Safety Bureau, send your application and fee(s) to the address below:

Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals

Food & Consumer Safety Bureau

Lucas State Office Building

321 East 12th Street

Des Moines, IA 50319-0083


Food Manager Resources

This page contains food safety guidance documents that are associated with a routine inspection in a retail food establishment.

  • The guidance documents below are categorized the same way as an inspection report
    • Several documents are available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
  • Food safety videos in English, Spanish, and Chinese can be viewed HERE.

Food Safety in Other Languages



Food Safety and Inspection Guidance Documents

2013 FDA Food Code

Consumer Advisory
Highly Susceptible Populations
Conformance With Approved Procedures


Iowa requires Food Establishments to have at least one employee that has supervisory and management responsibility, and the authority to direct and control food preparation and service, to be a Certified Food Protection Manager who has shown proficiency of required information through passing a test that is part of an Accredited Program.

HACCP/Special Processes

This document outlines the 2013 FDA Food Code requirements regarding food produced in Retail Food Establishments using special processes such as curing, smoking for preservation, acidification, reduced oxygen packaging, sprouting seeds, etc.