We help make sure food products in restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, food processing plants, food/beverage vending machines, hotels, bed and breakfast lodging, fairs, festivals and other locations where food is offered to the public are safe.
Our central office develops statewide retail food program plans, objectives, policies, and procedures and helps local health departments carry out the food protection program in Kentucky.
Certified evaluation officers trained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provide training and guidance to local health departments. Local health departments are authorized to carry out the food safety program in the counties and districts they serve. Every county or district has a certified retail food specialist and all food inspectors are registered sanitarians.
Kentucky Food Manufacturing Program
Request for Certificate for Free Sale or Export
Some countries require a certificate of free sale or certificate for export when companies outside the United States import food products. The certificate of free sale is evidence that food items are legally sold or distributed in the open market without restriction and are approved by the regulatory authorities in the country of origin.
The Food Safety Branch may issue a certificate of free sale to Kentucky food processing establishments under the regulatory jurisdiction of the state Department of Public Health, with a valid permit to operate and in good standing with the department. The current fee is $10 for each signed, notarized certificate for free sale/certificate of export. The Kentucky Food Safety Branch does not issue certificates of free sale for dietary supplements, USDA regulated products or animal/pet feed.
Request for Certificate of Free Sale or Export form (DFS-260) must be accompanied by check or money order (made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer) for the current fee. The completed form and fee should be mailed to:
Food Safety Branch
275 East Main Street-Mail Stop: HS1C-F
Frankfort, KY, 40621-0001
For additional questions regarding a certificate of free sale or export, contact the Food Safety Branch at (502) 564-7181.
Home-Based Processing and Home-Based Microprocessing
House Bill 263 an Act relating to home-based food products, became law in 2018 and resulted in changes to the home-based processing program. For more information, call the Food Safety Branch, at 502-564-7181.
Certified Home-based microprocessors who grow a predominate agronomic ingredient and meet further requirements may grow, harvest and process acid foods, formulated acid food products, acidified food products and low-acid canned foods.
Home-based microprocessor application
For further questions regarding Microprocessing, please contact Food Manufacturing Supervisor Karen Sloat at (502) 564-7181.
Temporary Food Operations
Temporary Food Service Set-Up Guidelines
All temporary food vendors must have a permit to operate.
Foods may be prepared and served in conjunction with gatherings or events such as fairs and festivals. Food items and methods of preparation may be restricted during these temporary events. All temporary food vendors must have a permit from the local health department prior to commencing operations. These permits are valid, if the establishment complies with regulations, for up to 14 days at one location. For more information and applications, please contact your
local county health department.
Restricted Food Concessions
These food establishments operate with restricted non-potentially hazardous menu items and ingredients considered to be low-risk in relation to food borne illness. Only nonpotentially hazardous menu items may be provided with the exception of plain frankfurters with bread, commercially processed nacho cheese sauce, and chips. Other potentially hazardous foods may not be provided by a restricted food concession. These concessions may operate with limited fixture requirements as defined in the Kentucky Food Establishment Act and State Retail Food Code. For more information please contact your local county health department.