Food Safety:

City of Cleveland - Department of Public Health

The Food Safety Program makes sure that all food sold in the City of Cleveland is safe to eat or drink by inspecting and licensing restaurants, vending machines, food trucks, grocery stores and corner stores. Our sanitarians are dedicated to working with the food service community to uphold all food safety rules and regulations and are deeply committed to educating operators on food safety and proper food handling techniques. The Food Safety program offers education, evaluation, and regulation of the following:
  • Food Service Operations
  • Food Service Vending Machine Locations
  • Food Trucks
  • Mobile Food Service and Retail Operations
  • Retail Food Establishments
  • Temporary Food Service and Temporary Retail Operations
  • Micro Markets (Please review the following Fact Sheet for additional information)
Renew or Apply for a Food Safety License

Anyone who serves or sells food to the public needs a license and must either apply for a
new license or renew an existing one.


Mobile Food Service Operation Planning Application, Click Here!

Temporary Food Event Permit Application, Click Here!

NOTE: Applications must be received at least 10 days in advance of temporary events.

From February 1st to March 1st, every operator of a food service operation that wishes to operate
during any part of the year must apply for a license.

Anyone that wants to renew a license must submit an application no later than March 1st, except in the case of a mobile or seasonal retail food establishment. The renewal application must be submitted before food can be served or sold. Anyone may renew a license before March 1st or the first day of a new licensing period, but cannot before February 1st.

For more information on licensing fees, Click Here!
  • Have an existing operation and you are not sure about your fee?
  •   (216) 664-3076
  • Trying to open a new restaurant?
  •   (216) 664-4769
  • Trying to get a Temporary Food Service License?
  •   (216) 664-4897

    License renewal applications received after the March 1st deadline will be assessed a late fee penalty. Our office mails license renewal applications as a courtesy to licensees but is not required to do so. It is the sole responsibility of the operator to ensure that his/her license is renewed prior to the expiration date.

    Request a Food Facility Layout Review packet for a New Food Business

    New food businesses must submit blueprints and proposals to ensure new or remodeled food establishments comply with food safety regulations. Your project may not need everything that is listed, but please include as much information as possible.

    Click here for the online packet

    Drawings are required and must be drawn to scale. Please submit 4 sets if you are altering an existing establishment and 6 sets if you are building a new establishment. Drawings should include:
    • An index of the drawings and a legend for any symbols used on the cover sheet
    • Name of the author of the drawings and the stamp of the architect or engineer, if required
    • Plot or Site Plan showing the street location, size of lot, location of all structures, location of parking lots with a layout and the location of utility services
    • Floor Plans of all levels with dimensions, room names, door and window sizes, and fire resistant construction. All new and existing structures and any walls to be removed should be shown differently
    • Elevations of all affected areas with floor to floor heights
    • Cross sections of the building, cross sections of walls, and details describing materials used in floors, walls and ceilings such as the construction materials and material sizes to describe the general intent of the work
    • Structural plans or notations indicating compliance with code design loads
    • Mechanical and electrical systems drawings or notations showing compliance with code requirements such as the Ohio Energy Code and others
    A completed packet is required for your plans to be reviewed. In addition to the above requirements, the Division of Environment also requires that you to submit a menu.

    Food Safety in an Emergency

    Practicing safe food-handling is an important part of everyday life, but is especially important in emergency situations such as a flood, tornado, fire, water interruption or power outage. Be sure to carefully inspect all food items and do not eat any food you think may not be safe. Spoiled food may not look contaminated. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.

    For additional information please see the Ohio Department of Health factsheets (printable versions) and links to other helpful websites, Click Here!

    Food Safety Complaints

    Please call (216) 664-2300 to file a complaint if you believe that a Cleveland restaurant served you food that:
    • Caused you or a family member to get sick
    • Was prepared, handled or stored in unclean conditions
    • Broke food safety laws in some other way
    Dogs in Dining Areas

    Effective October 29, 2018, owners of food service operations (FSO) and retail food establishments (RFE) may allow dogs in outdoor dining areas. The new law, which amended Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 3717, states that the Directors of Health and Agriculture shall adopt rules for dogs in outdoor dining areas. Until the rules are finalized, any FSO or RFE that wishes to allow dogs in the outdoor dining area must comply with the following standards:
    • Adopt and enforce a policy that requires patrons to control their dogs while in the outdoor dining area.
    • Dogs may not enter the outdoor dining area through the interior of an FSO or RFE.
    • Comply with all sanitation standards in the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code including, but not limited to, cleanliness and maintenance of the outdoor dining area; hand washing; handling and storage of food, equipment and utensils; washing and sanitizing of equipment and utensils.
    • All dogs entering an outdoor dining area must be properly vaccinated as required by state and local laws.
    • Service animals are permitted to enter Food Service Operations and Retail Food Establishments as specified in OAC 3717-1-06.4 (O).
    All Food Safety inspections and licensing/application rules are governed by the rules and regulations of the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code