Vending Machines

Summary

Vending Machine- Means a food establishment which is a self-service device that, upon insertion of a coin, paper currency, token, card or key, dispenses unit servings of food in bulk or in packages without the necessity of replenishing the device between each vending operation. Vending machines that dispense only prepackaged, non-potentially hazardous foods, panned candies, gumballs or nuts are exempt from licensing but may be inspected by the department upon receipt of a written complaint. “Panned candies” are those with a fine, hard coating on the outside and a soft candy filling on the inside. Panned candies are easily dispensed by a gumball-type machine.

 

Click on the Gray Tabs above for additional information on:

Laws and Regulations
• Iowa Food Code

Basic Requirements
• Information on the basic requirements of operating a Vending Machine in the State of Iowa

Licensing
• Vending Machine license application

 

Basic Requirements

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Licensing

Iowa law exempts vending machines that dispense only prepackaged non-hazardous foods from obtaining a license.

Vending machines that require a license are those dispensing the following items:

  • "Non-prepackaged foods" which include post and pre-mix machines dispensing such items as coffee, soft drinks, soups, and similar items in cups; and

  • “Potentially hazardous foods" which are food products that must be stored at 41°F or below, or 135°F or above.

The operator shall maintain within the jurisdiction of the regulatory authority, a list of all vending machines and machine locations operated by the licensee, and shall make the list available to the regulatory authority upon request.  Vending machines must be licensed through the appropriate Regulatory Authority.

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 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 License Table

Food- means a raw, cooked, or processed edible substance, ice, a beverage, an ingredient used or intended for use or sale in whole or in part for human consumption, or chewing gum.

Retail Food Service Establishment

(Restaurants, bars, concession stands, etc.)

  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

Retail Food Establishment

(Grocery Stores, bakeries, etc.)

  means a food establishment that sells to consumer customers food or food products intended for preparation or consumption off the premises.

Food Processing Plant

(Food processing or Warehouse storage)

  means a commercial operation that manufactures, packages, labels or stores food for human consumption and does not provide food directly to a consumer.

 

Mobile Food Unit

(Food trucks, trailers, pushcarts)

  means a food establishment that is self-contained, with the exception of a grill or smoker, and readily movable, which either operates up to three consecutive days at one location or returns to a home base of operation at the end of each day.

Farmer’s Market

  means a marketplace which operates seasonally, principally as a common market for Iowa-produced farm products on a retail basis for consumption elsewhere.

Temporary Food Establishment

  means a food establishment that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration. An “event or celebration” is a significant occurrence or happening sponsored by a civic, business, educational, government, community, or veterans’ organization and may include athletic contests. For example, an event does not include a single store’s grand opening or sale.

Vending Machine

  means a food establishment which is a self-service device that, upon insertion of a coin, paper currency, token, card or key, dispenses unit servings of food in bulk or in packages without the necessity of replenishing the device between each vending operation. Vending machines that dispense only prepackaged, non- potentially hazardous foods, panned candies, gumballs or nuts are exempt from licensing but may be inspected by the department upon receipt of a written complaint. “Panned candies” are those with a fine, hard coating on the outside and a soft candy filling on the inside.  Panned candies are easily dispensed by a gumball-type machine.

 

Home Bakery

(Home based food operation)

  means a business on the premises of a residence that is operating as a home-based bakery where potentially hazardous bakery goods are prepared for consumption elsewhere. Annual gross sales of these products cannot exceed $35,000. “Home Bakery” does not include a residence where food is prepared to be used or sold by churches, fraternal societies, or charitable, civic or nonprofit organizations.  Residences which prepare or distribute honey, shell eggs or nonhazardous baked goods for pick-up by the customer (no delivery or shipping) are not required to be licensed as a home food establishment.