Unattended Food Establishment

“Unattended Food Establishment means an operation that provides packaged foods or whole fruit using an automated payment system and has controlled entry not accessible by the general public.

    • “Controlled entry” for the purposes of the definition of “unattended food establishment,” means selective restriction or limitation of access to a place or location.

Click on the Gray Tabs 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

• Unattended Food Establishment license application

  • 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, Appeals and Licensing (DIAL) should submit their license application and corresponding fee(s) to DIAL at the address below.  All other applicants should mail their license application and fees to their local regulatory authority.


For information on License Application Fee Refunds click here:  IAC 481.30.3(2)

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

Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals, and Licensing

Food Safety Bureau

6200 Park Ave

Des Moines, IA 50321