Food Permits

The Snohomish Health District wants to help you get your business up and running with all the proper permits to ensure your food establishment meets state regulations for food safety. Additional information on permitting for NEW food establishments, as well as for making changes to an existing establishment, can be found on the Starting or Revising a Food Business page. 


In order to operate a food service establishment, you must have a permit. A food permit ensures that your business complies with the local Snohomish Health District Code and the Washington State Retail Food Code. The type of permit you need will vary, depending on the type of food establishment. 

Permits are required for a food service establishment to offer food to the public. Examples of different types of food establishments include restaurants, grocery stores, taverns, temporary food establishments, mobile food units , bed and breakfasts, bakeries, caterers, concession stands, retail meat/fish dealers, campground cafeterias, school cafeterias, and vending machines. Click on the type of permit you want to get more information on. 

Permanent Fixed Business
Temporary Food Booths
Mobile Food Units
Food Donation
Other Agencies

For a full list of our different permit fees, go to the Snohomish Health District Permits & Fees page.

To see what permits in Snohomish County look like, watch the video below.


The following do not meet the definition of a food service establishment, so do not require a permit from Snohomish County.  

  • Prepackaged, non-Potentially Hazardous Food products produced in a licensed food processing plant or food service establishment (i.e. chips, soda, candy bars) 
  • Minimally cut, unprocessed fruit, vegetables, or fresh herbs that are non-Potentially Hazardous Food and non-Ready-To-Eat 
  • Hot beverages that are non-Potentially Hazardous Food, and served into single-service cups (i.e. coffee w/ powder creamer, tea)
  • Dry foods that are non-Potentially Hazardous Food and non-Ready-To-Eat (i.e. beans, pasta, tea leaves, dry grains, in-shell nuts) 
  • Prepackaged frozen confections produced in licensed food processing plant or Food Service Establishment (i.e. ice cream bars) 
  • Ready-to-eat foods that are non-Potentially Hazardous Foods that are produced in a licensed food processing plant or Food Service Establishment (i.e. premixed soda, powdered creamer, pretzels, donuts, cookies, cake, meat jerky) that are served: 
  1. Without direct hand contact (i.e. deli tissue, napkins, tongs, toothpicks — NO GLOVES!)
  2. With limited portioning 
  3. From the original package 
  4. Directly into or onto a single-service container