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


“Food establishment” means an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends or otherwise provides food for human consumption and includes a food service operation in a salvage or distressed food operation, nutrition program operated pursuant to Title III-C of the Older Americans Act, school, summer camp, residential service substance abuse treatment facility, halfway house substance abuse treatment facility, correctional facility operated by the department of corrections, the state training school and the Iowa juvenile home. Assisted living programs and adult day services are included in the definition of food establishment to the extent required by 481—subrules 69.28(6) and 70.28(6).  “Food establishment” does not include the following:

1. A food processing plant.
2. An establishment that offers only prepackaged foods that are not potentially hazardous.
3. A produce stand or facility which sells only whole, uncut fresh fruits and vegetables.
4. Premises which are a home bakery pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 137D.
5. Premises which operate as a farmers market.
6. Premises of a residence in which food that is not potentially hazardous is sold for consumption off the premises to a consumer customer, if the food is labeled to identify the name and address of the person preparing the food and the common name of the food. This exception does not apply to resale goods. This exception applies only to sales made from the residence in person and does not include mail order or Internet sales.
7. A kitchen in a private home where food is prepared or stored for family consumption or in a bed and breakfast home.
8. A private home or private party where a personal chef or hired cook is providing food preparation services to a client and the client’s nonpaying guests.
9. A private home that receives catered or home-delivered food.
10. Child day care facilities and other food establishments located in hospitals or health care facilities that serve only patients and staff and are subject to inspection by other state agencies or divisions of the department.
11. Supply vehicles or vending machine locations.
12. Establishments that are exclusively engaged in the processing of meat and poultry and are licensed pursuant to Iowa Code section 189A.3.
13. The following premises, provided they are exclusively engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages in a prepackaged form:
  • Premises covered by a current Class “A” beer permit, including a Class “A” native beer permit as provided in Iowa Code chapter 123;
  • Premises covered by a current Class “A” wine permit, including a Class “A” native wine permit as provided in Iowa Code chapter 123; and
  • Premises of a manufacturer of distilled spirits under Iowa Code chapter 123.
14. Premises or operations that are exclusively engaged in the processing of milk and milk products, are regulated by Iowa Code section 192.107, and have a milk or milk products permit issued by the department of agriculture and land stewardship.
15. Premises or operations that are exclusively engaged in the production of shell eggs, are regulated by Iowa Code section 196.3, and have an egg handler’s license.
16. The premises of a residence in which honey is stored; prepared; packaged, including by placement in a container; or labeled or from which honey is distributed.
17. Premises regularly used by a nonprofit organization which engages in the serving of food on the premises as long as the nonprofit organization does not exceed the following restrictions:
  • The nonprofit organization serves food no more than one day per calendar week and not on two or more consecutive days;
  • Twice per year, the nonprofit organization may serve food to the public for up to three consecutive days; and
  • The nonprofit organization may use the premises of another nonprofit organization not more than twice per year for one day to serve food.

Click on the Gray Tabs above for additional information on:

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

Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) Requirements

HACCP/Special Processes Requirements




Resource Search