Food Safety

Permitting Information

Serving food to the public in Clark County requires a health permit issued by the Environmental Public Health Department. To obtain a Health Permit, a one-time Plan Review application and fee is first required and must be submitted to the Health Department for review and approval. After the plans are approved by a health inspector, a Health Permit will be released for purchase and must be renewed annually. Single-event temporary health permits have a single fee and application for the plan review and the permit. For more information, visit our Farmers market and temporary events frequently asked questions page.

Building Departments often have requirements applicable to food businesses. Contact the building department for the jurisdiction of your operation to understand if other permits are needed. 

Food at Events

If you will be selling, serving, preparing or sampling foods at public events by setting up a temporary concession stand or booth with portable cooking equipment and hand wash stations then you will need a health permit. Use these links for information on requirements, applying and paying for a temporary health permit in Clark County.

  • Single-Event: Temporary food service at a single coordinated event for up to 21 days at a fixed location.  
  • Multi-Event: Temporary food service permit  to serve food at a Farmer's Markets or multiple coordinated events throughout the year. 
  • Exempt from Permit and Not a Food Establishment: Information for vending certain foods at temporary events that don't require a fee; notification is necessary. 

Opening a permanent food establishment ​or donated food distribution organization

Annual health permits are required to operate a food service establishment in Clark County. Before a new health permit can be issued, a plan review must be conducted to ensure compliance with the Washington State Food Code. Use these links for specific requirements, applying and paying for a plan review and permits for various types of annual food service establishments. Plan review is required for ownership changes and new food operations. Be aware, health permits are non-transferable and non-refundable. Use these links to get started with your new business.

Due to high volume, allow 4 - 6 weeks from plan submittal to receive initial comments from the plan reviewer.  Allow 10 – 16 weeks for full completion of a plan review at this time. Submit application materials as completely and thoroughly as possible to decrease review times.  During periods of usual volume, first review comments are often received within 3 weeks with full completion reached in 6 – 8 weeks.

  • Food service establishment (all levels): New or remodeled restaurant, change of ownership, deli or grocery store, coffee and espresso kiosks, tasting rooms, travelers' accommodations, caterers etc.
  • Mobile food service establishment: Mobile food vending trucks, carts or other non-stationary establishments that have plumbed sinks with fresh and gray water holding tanks and hot water serving any type of food.
  • Donated Food Distribution Organization: Donated Food Distribution Organization: Food banks, community meal sites, shelters, community refrigerators, and other efforts to provide food free of charge to those in need. 

Special processes – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)

An additional plan review and permit is required for each of the following special process required by code to have an approved HACCP plan:

  • Adding components or food additives to extend shelf life or render a product shelf stable
  • Curing, drying, and smoking fish
  • Curing, drying, and smoking of meat of poultry
  • Custom processing of meat for use within a food establishment
  • Fermentation of sausages
  • Operating molluscan shellfish life support systems for consumption
  • Packaging juice at retail w/pasteurization
  • Reduced oxygen packaging
  • Sprouting at retail

Visit the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point page for additional HACCP plan review and permit information.

Renew an annual permit

Health permits are valid for one year from the date of purchase and must be renewed before they expire. Renewal applications and invoices are mailed out to current permit holders 30 days prior to their expiration date and must be completely filled out and returned with a full payment and the original invoice to be processed. Below you will find supplemental forms for mobile, seasonal and annual itinerant health permit renewals.