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The new Manufactured Food Rule goes into effect August 1, 2024. Read about the changes for licensed and exempt food processors.

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.
  • Fill out an online application or print the application and mail it in.
  • Submit the application at least 30 days before you plan to open.
  • Include a copy of the wastewater permit, if necessary.
  • Include water test results, if necessary.
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Pass an opening inspection.
  • Review the Good Manufacturing Practices for Food Rule.
  • Contact a public health inspector to schedule an opening inspection or if you have questions.
  • Complete an opening inspection. You are approved to begin operating after you pass and have all permits in place from other agencies.
  • The license will be emailed to you. You must print the license and post it at the physical location.
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
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Good Manufacturing Practices for Food Rule
More Resources for You
FDA Guidance for Industry: Food Labeling GuideLabeling and nutrition guidance documents from the Food & Drug Administration.
Food Processing AuthoritiesSearch a list of food processing authorities provided by the Association of Food & Drug Officials (AFDO).
Labeling for Food Producers and ProcessorsUVM fact sheet for clarifying label requirements on food products commonly sold in Vermont.
When You're Healthy, We're All HealthyVideo for food establishments to share with food workers about how to keep illnesses from spreading.
Log SheetsPrint these food safety log sheet templates for use in your establishment. 
Good Manufacturing Practices for Food RuleFull text of requirements for food processors.
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

Mailing address:

VT Dept of Health
Environmental Health
Food & Lodging Program
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-8350

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

Fax: 802-863-7483


Find the public health inspector in your area

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