Food Safety Program

The purpose of this program is to prevent the occurrence of foodborne illnesses by promoting the safe preparation, production and service of food in hygienic, properly equipped and maintained food facilities.

Any operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food intended for human consumption to the general public, must be conducted within an approved food facility.

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

Operational Changes and COVID-19 Guidelines and Information 

Please feel free to contact Environmental Health Services at 805-781-5544 regarding questions about interim application processing for all food-related programs.

View the Food Safety Program Frequently Asked Questions

Food Facility Self-Inspection Checklist​

Mobile Food Facility Self Inspection Checklist English​

Temporary Food Facility Self Inspection Checklist English​

Temporary Food Facility Self Inspection Checklist Spanish

Safe Surplus Food Donation Information

Water Conservation Tips for Food Facilities


Permanent Food Facilities means a restaurant, bar, retail food market, public and private school cafeteria, farm stand, bed and breakfast establishment, or other fixed location facility where food intended for human consumption is provided to the general public. 


New Facility Construction

Prior to beginning construction or remodel, a construction/remodel permit must be issued by Environmental Health Services. 

Please note, additional permitting may be required by the local city or county jurisdiction Planning and Building Department.


Ownership Changes for Currently or Formerly Permitted Permanent Food Facilities

Health permits are nontransferrable.

Whether you are looking to take over ownership of a permanent food facility currently under permit with Environmental Health Services, or buy or lease a food facility which was formerly under permit with Environmental Health Services, then you must obtain a new health permit under your name, or business name, prior to beginning operation.


Permit Holders

Mobile Food Facility (MFF) means any vehicle used in conjunction with a commissary or other permanent food facility upon which food is sold or distributed at retail. The types of Mobile Food Facilities are described below:

  1. Produce Vehicle: A MFF limited to the sale of whole, uncut produce obtained from an approved source.
  2. Prepackaged Food Push Cart/vehicle: A MFF limited to the sale of 100% pre-packaged foods, which are obtained from an approved source.
  3. Non-Prepackaged Food Vehicle: A MFF that engages in limited food preparation. (e.g. shaved ice cart or hot dog cart). Download information regarding unenclosed Mobile Food Facility operation.
  4. Mobile Food Preparation Unit: A MFF that engages in full food preparation. (e.g. food trucks).

Make sure to contact all relevant City or County agencies BEFORE setting up your MFF business. Laws and ordinances differ within City and County boundaries and may not allow you to sell in certain areas without their own form of approval.

A certification insignia issued by the CA Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is required on a mobile food facility that is occupied and has 110 volt electrical, plumbing, a gas appliance/equipment or a mechanical generator or compressor. Contact HCD at (951) 782-4420 or visit the California Housing and Community Development website for additional information.
To serve ice cream (including soft serve) and yogurt contact California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for milk products licensing.

Community Event means an event conducted for not more than 25 consecutive or nonconsecutive days in a 90-day period and that is of a civic, political, public, or educational nature, including state and county fairs, city festivals, circuses, and other public gathering events approved by the local enforcement agency.

The Event Organizer is responsible for running the community event, ensuring that all the Temporary Food Facilities have their health permits and have the appropriate set-up during the event in order to operate in compliance with all applicable laws. An event organizer permit is required for any community event consisting of two or more food facilities.

Temporary Food Facilities means a food facility approved by the enforcement officer that operates at a fixed location for the duration of an approved community event or at a swap meet and only as a part of the community event or swap meet. Temporary food facilities (TFF) that participate at community events include food booths, food carts and food trucks.

Before you can sell or give away food to the public, you are required to have a valid health permit. Please submit all applications to our office at least 2 weeks prior to the event.

NOTE: Mobile Food Facilities (i.e. Food trucks and food carts) with a current County of San Luis Obispo Permit may, if approved by the event organizer, participate at any community event. MFFs not currently permitted by County of San Luis Obispo must obtain a permit by submitting a Temporary Food Facility Application.

WHAT'S A CERTIFIED FARMERS' MARKET? CFM is a market where farmers sell their California grown agricultural products directly to the public. CFMs are regulated and inspected by both the County of San Luis Obispo Agricultural Commissioner and County of San Luis Obispo Environmental Health Services Division.
To Participate in a CFM:

  1. Organizers - Register with the State of California Farmers' Market Program at
  2. Organizers/Vendors - To open a Farmers' Market or become a "Certified Producer" operating within San Luis Obispo County - Register with the County of San Luis Obispo Agricultural Commissioner's office.
  3. Farmers/Vendors - Contact and obtain permission from the manager of the market in which you wish to participate. Registered farmers are covered under the market manager’s permit and are not required to obtain a separate health permit from Environmental Health Services, however food handling and storage practices must be performed in accordance with the California Retail Food Code. Please review the Certified Farmers Market operating guidelines to ensure compliance is maintained during operation.

NOTE: A Community Event with Temporary Food Facilities may operate in conjunction with the CFM. A separate application and permit is required. Please refer to the Temporary Food Facility Permit page for more information. 

For a list of Farmers' Market in the County of San Luis Obispo visit

What is a caterer? A caterer is any person or business who operates from a permitted food establishment and who supplies food and related services to any private or public function at a location other than their permitted food establishment.

If you do not have a restaurant or other similar food facility under permit with this Department then you will need to get a catering permit.

Cottage Food is a law that was enacted on January 1, 2013 that allows certain foods approved by California Department Public Health (CDPH) to be made at home. Click here to view an updated list of approved Cottage Food products.

The law allows for two different options:

  1. Class A is for selling food directly from your home or to individuals such as customers at a community event. Class A requires the operator to register with the local health department. There is no inspection with a Class A registration.
  2. Class B allows you to sell to retailers who will then resell the food. For example, you sell food to a market or coffee shop who resells it to their customers. Class B requires the operator to obtain a permit from the local health department. There is a yearly inspection in order to obtain a Class B permit. You may also operate as a Class A Cottage Food Operation when you have a Class B permit.

Related Services

Food Facility Inspection Results
Food Program Frequently Asked Questions
Award of Excellence Listing for Food Facility Inspections
Foodborne Illness Information
Contact Us

Related Forms & Documents

Food Program Forms: Permit Applications
Food Program Forms: Other
Food Program Reference Documents
Disaster Response for Food Safety

Environmental Health Supervisors

Leslie Terry

(805) 781-5553; [email protected]

  • Beach Water Quality, Cross-Connection, Land Use, Small Public Water Systems, Water Well Programs and Vector Programs

Aaron LaBarre

(805) 781-5595; [email protected]

  • Body Art, Food Protection, Swimming Pools and Spas.

Peter Hague 

(805) 781-5554; [email protected]

  • Hazardous Materials (CUPA) Programs