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Bucks County Health Department

Main -- Bureau of Personal Health and Public Health Preparedness -- Bureau of Environmental Health

Bureau of Environmental Health

Food Program FAQs

Permanent Licensing

What rules & regulations are food facilities required to follow?

All food facilities in PA must follow the PA Food Code which is very similar to the 2017 US FDA Food Code and can be viewed here: 

https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/consumer_protection/FoodSafety/Retail%20Food/Retail%20Foods%20
Facilities%20and%20Restaurants/Documents/FDA%20Food%20Code%202017.pdf

Can I cook and sell food out of my home?

It is unlawful to prepare, provide, or sell (retail) food to the public from a private home. The PA Dept. of Agriculture administers a Limited Food Establishment program that permits the preparation and wholesale only of baked goods and other non-time/temperature control for safety (Non-TCS) products in a home or residential style kitchen. Information on the Limited Food Establishment program can be found here:

https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/consumer_protection/FoodSafety/manufacturing-packing-holding-distribution/Pages/Limited-Food-Establishment-.aspx

What do I do if I want to build a new restaurant or food facility?

Contact BCDH at (215) 345-3318 and tell the receptionist which municipality (if you know) you plan on operating. You will be transferred to an Environmental Protection Specialist (EPS). The EPS will go over the licensing process with you. Plan approval is required prior to construction. Also contact the municipality in which you plan to construct and obtain information regarding construction permits. BCDH plan approval and municipal construction permits are two different and independent requirements. Obtaining a township construction permit does not constitute plan approval from BCDH. Submit one copy of your plans with the SA-86 Plan Review Application to the address on the application and an Environmental Protection Specialist (EPS) will contact you.  Please view the current fee schedule to determine the appropriate fees.

When the plans are approved the EPS will send a plan approval letter to the owner. After plan approval and obtaining the required permits, the facility can be constructed. Contact the EPS about 2 weeks before the planned opening to schedule an opening inspection. A walk-thru prior to the opening inspection can be requested in advance also. The SA-13 Application for License to Conduct and Operate a Food Facility and license fee must be submitted prior to the opening inspection. Approval is given after passing an opening inspection and the license is issued shortly after.

Applications and Fees for constructing and operating a new facility can be found here:

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/healthservices/HealthDepartment/Environmental/FoodEstablishment

The following forms should be submitted:

What do I do if I buy an existing food facility (change of ownership)?

Contact BCDH immediately especially if you are already operating, you may be operating without a license. It is advisable to contact BCDH prior to buying an existing food business to discuss the licensing process. The following must be submitted to obtain a new license:

Please view the current fee schedule to determine the appropriate fees. The fee schedule and the above applications can be found here:

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/healthservices/HealthDepartment/Environmental/FoodEstablishment

An inspection is required in addition to the above applications and fees.  Approval is given with a passing inspection. A new license is issued shortly after.

If I change the name of my facility, do I need a new license?

No, a new license is not required when changing only the name. A new license is required when the ownership changes. The BCDH License to Conduct and Operate a food establishment is not transferable between different owners.

I have a catering license in a neighboring jurisdiction, do I need to get a license in Bucks County?

BCDH allows reciprocity for caterers in other jurisdictions licensed with approval to cater off-site. A copy of the catering license from the regulatory authority must be onsite while operating in Bucks County. These operations will not be required to obtain a license, but they may be inspected at any time.

A license is required for a caterer operating exclusively at a venue in Bucks County.  

How do I get a PA Sales & Use Tax License (PA100)?

https://www.pa100.state.pa.us/

Consumer Questions

How do I file a complaint against a restaurant?

Contact BCDH at (215) 345-3318, you will be directed to the office or EPS who inspects the facility.

Email: foodcomplaints@buckscounty.org 

Where do I find inspection reports for restaurants in Bucks County?

https://pa.healthinspections.us/bucks/

Food Trucks and Mobile Food Units

If I have a license in another jurisdiction for my food truck, do I still need to get a license to operate in Bucks County?

Yes, any food facility including mobile food units (MFU) that provides/sells food to the public must obtain a license to operate a food facility in Bucks County.

How do I obtain a license for my existing food truck?

The following are required:

All MFUs licensed in Bucks County must operate from a licensed commissary (can be out of county).

The forms can be found here:

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/healthservices/HealthDepartment/Environmental/FoodEstablishment

Please view the fee schedule to determine the appropriate fees. Temporary or seasonal licenses are not issued for food trucks.  A plan review fee is not required for food trucks that are already licensed in another jurisdiction.  All food trucks operating in Bucks County must obtain a yearly Mobile Food Unit License.

I would like to have a brand-new food truck built and operate in Bucks County, what do I need to do?

Submit one copy of your plans with the SA-145 Plan Review Application for Mobile Food Units to the address on the application. Please indicate (if you know) where you intend to operate the mobile food unit. An EPS will contact you to discuss the licensing process. Plan approval is required prior to constructing the mobile food unit. Also contact any local Twp. or Boro in which you may operate to inquire about permits.

Do you maintain a list of commissaries in Bucks County?

We do not maintain a list of licensed commissaries. Any licensed facility that can accommodate your mobile food unit can (with written consent and BCDH approval) serve as a commissary. The license of a facility can be changed if necessary to meet this requirement.

I operate a microbrewery and use food trucks, do those trucks need to be licensed?

Yes, all food trucks operating in Bucks County are required to obtain a yearly Mobile Food Unit License.

Temporary and Seasonal Licensing

How long is a temporary license good for? Who needs a temporary license?

A temporary license can be issued for someone operating a food stand/establishment between 2-14 days (consecutive or non-consecutive) in one location.

A temporary license can also be issued in conjunction with an “event”. An event is defined as “a gathering or celebration conducted to raise money for a stated purpose” (usually a non-profit cause). Examples of events include carnivals, parades, ethic festivals, car shows etc.

One day operations are not required to obtain a temporary license, however, they may still be inspected and are required to follow the food code.  Operators at events between 2-14 days must obtain temporary licenses. Vendors who wish to operate at several or multiple events should consider obtaining seasonal licenses.

Temporary Licenses are not issued to Food Trucks.

The Temporary License Application (SA-13T) and guidelines for conducting a temporary food stand can be found here:

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/healthservices/HealthDepartment/Environmental/FoodEstablishment

Do I need a CFSM certificate for a temporary license?

No, there is no CFSM requirement for temporary food operations.

How do I get a seasonal license to operate a mobile food stand at multiple events?

An operator who wishes to obtain a seasonal license (either 120 or 180 days) to operate a mobile food stand or “stick stand” must submit the following:

Applications and forms for a seasonal license can be found here:

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/healthservices/HealthDepartment/Environmental/FoodEstablishment

Certified Food Safety Manager (CFSM)

What types of operations require a CFSM?

Any operation in Bucks County that prepares time/temperature control for safety (TCS) products is required to have a CFSM onsite during all open/operational hours.

A facility that does NOT prepare any TCS products or only handles TCS products minimally may request an exemption from the CFSM requirement by submitting the SA-83 Application to Request an Exemption for CFSM. The form can be requested by contacting BCDH (215) 345-3318.

How do I get a BCDH CFSM certificate?

There are two steps in the process to becoming a BCDH Certified Food Safety Manager.

The first step is to pass a proctored exam as part of an approved food safety course. After passing the exam you will be issued a course certificate.

The second step is to submit a copy of the course certificate with the BCDH CFSM application SA-71 and the current fee. You will then be issued a CFSM certificate from BCDH. The SA-71 application can be found here:

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/healthservices/HealthDepartment/Environmental/FoodEstablishment

Where do I take an approved food safety course?

The SA-92 contains a list of private independently owned food safety schools that offer approved food safety courses and exams. BCDH does not recommend or endorse any particular school on this list. The SA-92 is maintained as a convenience to assist food managers in finding approved food safety courses/exams and can be found here:

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/healthservices/HealthDepartment/Environmental/FoodEstablishment 

Is there a list of approved food safety courses? How do I know if I’m taking the correct course?

All approved courses must be ANSI accredited and recognized by the National Conference for Food Protection. All approved courses require a proctored exam. Exams with on-line proctoring are now accepted.

The link below contains a current list of approved courses/exams

https://www.ansi.org/Accreditation/credentialing/personnel-certification/food-protection-manager/AlLdirectoryListing?menuID=8&prgID=8&statusID=4

Is my CFSM certification only good at my current job? Can I take my certification with me if I change jobs, or work at two different facilities?

A BCDH CFSM certificate is good for 5 years and is acceptable at any licensed facility in Bucks County.

Can I take an online exam?

Online exams must have an online or in person proctor. If your online exam does not have an online or in person proctor, it is not approved. Contact the school or instructor to find an approved course/exam.

If I take or took one of the approved courses/exams in another state will it still be acceptable?

Yes, as long as the course/exam is on the approved list, the state in which you took the course/exam does not matter. The list of approved courses/exams can be found here:

https://www.ansi.org/Accreditation/credentialing/personnel-certification/food-protection-manager/AlLdirectoryListing?menuID=8&prgID=8&statusID=4

I’m a registered CFSM in another county and just started working in Bucks County, do I still need to get a CFSM certificate in Bucks?

Yes, currently we do not have reciprocity for CFSMs with other jurisdictions. Submit a copy of the certificate from the course/exam with the SA-71 application and the current fee to obtain your BCDH CFSM certificate. The SA-71 can be found here:

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/healthservices/HealthDepartment/Environmental/FoodEstablishment

Farmer's/Flea Market Stands

Do I need a farmer’s market license to sell food at a farmer’s market? How do I obtain a farmer’s market license?

A farmer’s market license is required for anyone selling time/temperature control for safety (TCS) products at a farmer’s market. A license is also required for anyone preparing a significant amount of food onsite at a farmer’s market. All licensed farmer’s/flea market stands must operate from or in conjunction with a licensed facility.

Sampling is generally not considered food preparation, so farmer’s market stands that sell and sample only non-TCS products do not require a license. These stands must follow the food code and all products must come from an approved (licensed) source. These stands may be inspected at any time.

All food products must be labeled and come from an approved (licensed) source.

The application for a farmer’s/flea market license can be found here:

http://www.buckscounty.org/government/healthservices/HealthDepartment/Environmental/FoodEstablishment

Can I make cookies or other foods at home and sell them at a farmer’s market?

All foods sold at a farmer’s market must come from an approved source. The only circumstances under which a residential home is considered an approved source is if the home is registered with the PA Dept. of Agriculture as a Limited Food Establishment. Information regarding the PA Dept. of Agriculture Limited Food Establishment can be found here:

https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/consumer_protection/FoodSafety/manufacturing-packing-holding-distribution/Pages/Limited-Food-Establishment-.aspx

Can I use my Farmer’s Market license at more than one stand?

A farmer’s market license can be used for multiple markets only on different days. If an owner wishes to operate at two different markets on the same day (and the operation requires a license), a separate license for each market is required.


Bucks County Health Department
Administrative Office

Neshaminy Manor Center, Building K
1282 Almshouse Road
Doylestown, PA 18901
Main HD Line: 215-345-3318
Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Central Bucks District Office
Neshaminy Manor Center, Building K
1282 Almshouse Road, 1st Floor
Doylestown, PA 18901
Environmental: 215-345-3336
Personal Health: 215-345-3344
Department Fax: 215-340-8456
Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
   
Lower Bucks District Office
Bucks County Government Services Center - Lower Bucks
7321 New Falls Road
Levittown, PA 19055
Phone: 267-580-3510
Fax: 215-949-5819
Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm 
Upper Bucks District Office
Bucks County Government Services Center - Upper Bucks
261 California Road
Quakertown, PA 18951
Phone: 215-529-7000
Fax: 215-529-7032
Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm