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Food Safety

Food Safety Program
Food Safety Branch
275 E. Main St.
Frankfort, KY 40621
(502) 564-7181
E-mail the Food Safety Program  


Mission Statement

Protecting the public's health by ensuring safe food, facilities and practices.

Return to Public Protection and Safety

Food Safety Tips

The Food Safety Branch operates under the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Public Health and is mandated by law (KRS Chapter 217) to protect consumers from the sale of adulterated, misbranded and falsely labeled foods and food products.

Food products we help make sure are safe are found 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.

The Food Safety Branch provides technical assistance and guidance to local health departments that act as our agents in carrying out state laws and regulations at the local or county level. The Food Safety Branch also governs the regulation of tattoo artists/studios as well as boarding homes.

The Food Safety Branch provides training and information to industry and consumers and issues permits to establishments that meet minimum compliance standards for their applicable business.

Kentucky Food Drug and Cosmetic Act - KRS 217.005 to 217.215, 217.992

Kentucky Food Establishment Act and State Retail Food Code - 902 KAR 45:005

Kentucky Food Code

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, consultation 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.

For more information, please contact your local county health department.

Kentucky Food Manufacturing Program

Central office develops the statewide food manufacturing program plans, objectives, policies and procedures and carries out the inspection program from the state level. Area food manufacturing inspectors conduct food safety inspections of wholesale food processing and storage firms. 

The food manufacturing program oversees establishments that formulate and process foods for wholesale distribution including, but not limited to, firms that manufacturer jams and jellies, honey, sorghum, candy, beverages, bottled waters, ice, fish, sauces, spices, herbs, breading and  flour and grain storage facilities and food storage warehouses. 

All Kentucky area food inspectors are credentialed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are registered sanitarians.

For more information and applications, please contact your local county health department or area inspectors.

Request for Certificate for Free Sale or Export

Some countries require a certificate of free sale, sometimes also called a 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, freely without restriction, and approved by the regulatory authorities in the country of origin.

The Food Safety Branch may issue a certificate of free sale for food products manufactured in Kentucky, in a food processing establishment under the regulatory jurisdiction of the state Department of Public Health, that holds a valid permit to operate and is 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. 

The request for these documents must  be made on the Request for Certificate of Free Sale or Export form (DFS-260) and be accompanied by the correct fee, via check or money order (made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer.) 

The completed form and fee should mailed to the 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/Farmers' Market Regulation

Kentucky law allows farmers to grow, harvest and process limited food products in their farm kitchens for sale at farmers markets, certified roadside stands and from the farm provided they grow the predominate agronomic ingredient.

Kentucky's farmers market regulations were developed jointly by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Farm Bureau, local health departments and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. These regulations describe the registrataion and certification processes for home-based processors and microprocessors. 

Once registered, home-based processors may process whole fruit and vegetables, mixed-greens, jams, jellies, sweet sorghum syrup, preserves, fruit butter, fruit pies, cakes, cookies and bread in their farm kitchens.

Certified home-based microprocessors that meet further requirements of the regulation may grow, harvest and process acid foods, formulated acid food products, acidified food products and low-acid canned foods.

For more information or to receive an application packet, please contact (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 and applications, please contact your local county health department.

Statewide Mobile Food Unit Operations

A statewide mobile food unit is basically a food establishment on wheels or otherwise mobile. These operations are permitted by the local county health department and permitted operations pay one yearly fee and may operate statewide. These units are to contact the health department in each county where they operate for an inspection and units may not remain at one location longer than 14 consecutive days.

For more information and applications, please contact your local county health department.

Establishment Fixture Requirements

Division of Plumbing

For more information and applications, please contact your local health department.

Other Food Safety Programs


Holiday Food Safety Resources
  FDA Holiday Food Safety Toolkit
Videos, recipes, shopping checklist, food safety tips, and children's activities are included in this great resource.

Last Updated 1/11/2017