What You Need to Know About Getting a Food Processing License

You will need a food processing license if you are operating a manufacturing facility to make products like salsa, sauce, salad dressing, coffee, beverages, snacks, candy, chocolate, condiments, jam and jelly, etc. Warehouses and distribution centers also need this type of license.

How to Get a Food Processor License
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Determine which license you need.
  • Apply for the license category based on expected gross annual sales.
  • In rare cases, a license is not required. Read about a license exemption for small-scale food processors grossing less than $10,000 per year.
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Contact other state and local agencies.
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Submit a complete application packet.
  • Make sure the application is complete, legible and signed.
  • Include a copy of the wastewater permit, if necessary.
  • Include water test results, if necessary.
  • Submit at least 30 days before you plan to open.
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Pass an opening inspection.

Apply for a Food Processor License    Renew Your License

Specific Information About:

FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and Food Facility Registration

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) overhauled the way it regulates food facilities with the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA has finalized seven major rules as part of the Act. Find more about the rules and related programs of the FSMA.

Certain small food facilities may qualify for modified requirements if they file a Qualified Facility Attestation. Read more about the Qualified Facilities Determination.

Most food facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States are required to register with the Food & Drug Administration. Use these resources to find out more about the requirements:

Small-scale Food Processor Exemptions

There are certain conditions where very small food processors are exempt from licensing. You can read about the exemption and submit the necessary paperwork by selecting the button below. Please note that claiming an exemption from the licensing requirements does not exempt an establishment from compliance with the food safety and sanitation requirements in the Good Manufacturing Practices for Food Rule, nor does the exemption prevent a public health inspector from inspecting your establishment to ensure those requirements are being complied with and investigating any potential health hazards.

Submit an Exemption Form

Important Resources for You
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Guide to Opening a Food Processing Establishment
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Application for License to Operate a Food Processor Establishment
More Resources for You


FDA Guidance for Industry: Food Labeling Guide Labeling and nutrition guidance documents from the Food & Drug Administration.
Food Processing Authorities Search a list of food processing authorities provided by the Association of Food & Drug Officials (AFDO).
Labeling for Food Producers and Processors UVM fact sheet for clarifying label requirements on food products commonly sold in Vermont.
When You're Healthy, We're All Healthy Video for food establishments to share with food workers about how to keep illnesses from spreading.
Log Sheets Print these food safety log sheet templates for use in your establishment. 
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a product review from a process authority?

A process authority review is required before producing low-acid canned foods, acidified foods, or if it is requested by the Health Department.

What needs to be on the product label?

Basic labeling requirements for products commonly made in Vermont can be found on this UVM Extension fact sheet. Detailed information about federal requirements can be found in the FDA Labeling & Nutrition Guidance for Industry.

Do I have to register with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)?

Food processors, warehouses, and distribution centers need to register with the FDA. Find more information here to evaluate requirements for your facility about FDA Food Facility Registration.

Where can I find out more about the Food Safety Modernization Act?

Read more about FSMA on the Food & Drug Administration website.

Who is my health inspector?
Contact Us

Food & Lodging Program

108 Cherry St., PO Box 70 

Burlington, VT 05402-0070

Phone: 802-863-7221 or 800-439-8550 (toll-free within Vermont)

Fax: 802-863-7483

Email: FoodLodging@vermont.gov

Find the public health inspector in your area

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