Food Service Establishment Forms & Applications    

Submit all applications here.

How to Obtain a Permit to Prepare and Sell Food

Before an operator can prepare and sell retail food in North Carolina, a permit for retail food service will be required. This means the operator prepares the food in some way and vends it through retail business practices directly to one consumer. This includes restaurants, food stands, meat markets, food trucks, and subscription meal services.

Permits are issued by Environmental Health after a thorough review of menus, plans, and equipment considerations. If you are in doubt whether the food service you are planning needs a Permit, please email the Environmental Health Department.

Home-based businesses that prepared non-potentially hazardous foods and baked goods will be referred to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Packaged foods producers should review this Flow Chart  for more information.

New Plans

Do you want to start a new business that prepares and sells food in Orange County? Complete this application and submit it to Environmental Health with the $250 plan review fee prior to beginning any construction, installation, or site preparation. A remodel refers only to existing establishments wishing to renovate equipment (see below). All others will be new permits. View the Food Service Plan Review.

All chain or franchise facilities must have approval from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health, Facility Plan Review Unit prior to construction. Call 919-707-5854 for more information. Still not sure about a retail food business, check out this Road Map presented by Piedmont Food Processing Center.

Shared-Use Kitchens

Are you thinking about partnering in one of Orange County's shared-use kitchens? Operators wanting to prepare and sell food as a caterer, or operators needing a commissary, may be interested in shared kitchen facilities. Submit a completed Shared Use Kitchen application with menu and $100 plan review fee.

Food Trucks, Other Mobile Food Units, and Push Carts

Food trucks, other mobile food units, and push carts? These applications may include further plan review for new trucks and an agreement required from the commissary. Submit a complete application with menu and $150 plan review fee for mobile food units or a $100 plan review fee for all others.

Food trucks can get a complimentary inspection of their gas lines by the NCDA


Taking over an existing establishment or one has been closed for less than a year? 

Complete this Application and submit it to Environmental Health a $100 plan review fee prior to assuming the ownership. It is unlawful to operate a food establishment without a valid permit. Do this prior to closing the original.

Other Agencies That Need to Be Contacted

Water Utility

Solid Waste Collection


  • Private Contractor

Grease Recycle

  • Private Contractor

Temporary Food Establishments

Temporary food for fairs, festivals, and other public exhibitions? Prior to the event, organizers must submit page 2 and 3 of the application. Food vendors must submit the remaining application with menu, food source information, and a $75 fee. Please contact us if you are in doubt whether you need to submit documentation for an exemption.

View the Temporary Food Establishment Application Packet (PDF) and the Application to be Exempt from Food Establishment Permit.