Food, beverage and lodging

Hennepin County provides food, beverage and lodging inspections, and an enforcement program to prevent water and foodborne illnesses for some cities.

No late penalty fees for 2021

County penalty fees will not accrue in 2021 for the duration of the local public health emergency. COVID-19 memo (PDF)

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Recent updates

Executive Order updates

Executive Order 21-07 (PDF) began at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 13th, 2021, as an amendment to Executive Order 21-01 (EO 21-01), and does not have an end date. Restaurants, bars, and other places of public accommodation that offer food and beverages must continue to comply with the requirements in EO 21-01 unless otherwise stated below.

Restaurants, bars and other places of public accommodation are allowed to offer food for indoor and outdoor onsite consumption, within the following parameters:

  • Occupancy capacity is limited to no more than 50% of the capacity, up to a maximum of 250 patrons inside; and a maximum of 250 patrons outside. Social distancing of six (6) feet must be maintained between parties.
  • Onsite dining hours are between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m. Take-out and delivery may occur after 10 p.m.
  • Private parties, events, receptions, or other gatherings in exclusive separate space (ballroom or other private room) are allowed, subject to the capacity limits below and the Requirements for Celebrations and Significant Life Events. These events must be separated from all other dining areas if the facility hosts a private party and also serves members of the public. Occupants of a private event count towards overall maximum capacity caps.

Virtual events

The county hosts virtual educational events for food businesses to help navigate the COVID-19 related requirements.

January 2021 event: COVID-19 in-service training

December 2020 event: COVID-19 executive order conversation

October 2020 event: COVID-19 in-service training

What businesses need to do

Prepare a plan

Follow guidance and requirements

Develop an illness screening and contact tracing plan

Enhance cleaning and disinfecting

Follow re-opening guidance

Ensure food safety

Additional resources

The Minnesota Food Code has recently been revised and updated. View the updated Minnesota Food Code (PDF).

Our customers with questions about the new code will benefit from reading the documents below outlining the 20 major changes to the Minnesota Food Code.

The Food Safety Partnership (FSP) of Minnesota posted a food code training video from the most recent FSP meeting. It highlights the 20 major changes to the food code.

General information

Effective June 1, 2019 Hennepin County will be offering reciprocity licenses for Mobile Food Units that are currently licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health or in the cities of Bloomington/Richfield, Brooklyn Park, Edina, Minneapolis, or Minnetonka/Wayzata.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture licensed mobile food units do not require additional licensing in our jurisdiction.

2020–2021 Mobile food unit reciprocity licensing application (PDF) (valid July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021)

Anytime changes are made to a current, proposed or previously licensed establishment a plan review is required. Please direct phone calls to 612-543-5200.

Plan review fees and application 2021 (PDF)

Construction guide (PDF)

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan

Based on Minnesota Rule 4626, as adopted by Hennepin County Ordinances No. 3, a HACCP plan is required if the following operations are performed:

  • When a variance has been issued to the required cooking temperatures of raw animal foods
  • Curing or using additives to preserve food
  • Operating molluscan shellfish tanks
  • Removing the tags from shellstock
  • Using reduced oxygen packaging

HACCP plan approval required

Hennepin County Ordinance 3 requires that the HACCP plan be submitted to and approved by Hennepin County Environmental Health. This approval indicates only that the plan complies with the provisions of Hennepin County County Ordinance 3 and Minnesota 4626. It does not guarantee that all hazards are controlled or guarantee a safe food product.

HACCP plan audits

Hennepin County Environmental Health will conduct on-site HACCP audits on an annual basis. Additional audits may be required if the plan provisions are not being correctly followed.

Submit a HACCP plan for approval

Time as a public health control application

Time as a public health control is using only time rather than time and temperature to control the growth of bacteria and keep food safe. Food is generally held under mechanical temperature control (hot holding units and refrigerators) to ensure safe product and to control bacterial growth in potentially hazardous foods.

When time is closely monitored, food may be kept under no temperature control for four hours or less. Within four hours, there will be limited bacterial growth or toxins produced. Once time is used as a control, food may not be placed back under mechanical temperature control to be saved and used later.

If your establishment would like to use time as a control, the application below must be submitted and approved prior to use in the establishment.

Time as a public health control application (PDF)

Short-term food event licensing (itinerant)

Hennepin County has two types of short term food licenses, regular and low risk. Please submit your application with payment at least 10 days prior to the event.

Additional helpful documents

Please direct phone calls to 612-543-5200.

Legislative update

New State Legislature has passed that affects itinerant food licensing. These changes are effective August 1, 2011.

For more details, please contact Hennepin County Environmental Health Department, 612-543-5200, and ask to speak with an inspector or supervisor.

Legislative bill, S.F. No. 477

Faith-based organizations

Faith-based organizations serving food in their building (church, synagogue, other houses of worship) or on their property for fund-raisers or community events are exempt from licensing. However, they must provide a certified food manager or volunteer trained in a food safety course.

NOTE: This exemption does not apply to faith-based organizations at the state agriculture society or county fairs, or to faith-based organizations that choose to apply for a license.

Faith-based exemptions (PDF)

Tax-exempt fraternal, sportsman or patriotic organizations

These organizations holding food events in their building(s) or on their property at which home-prepared food is donated by organization members for sale at the events, are exempt from licensing, provided:

  • The event is not a circus, carnival or fair
  • The organization controls the admission of persons to the event, the event agenda, or both
  • The organization's licensed kitchen (if they have one) is not used in any manner for the event

NOTE: These exemptions do not apply if the event is held at a location other than their own property.

Other exemptions (PDF)

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