retail food banner featuring vegetables, raw meat, and bakery items

The Retail Food Program conducts periodic inspections of retail food establishments throughout the state. A retail food establishment is an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food and beverages for human consumption. The food is sold directly to the consumer or indirectly through a delivery service. Some examples of retail food establishments include, but are not limited to:

  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Bakeries
  • Mobile food units
  • Wineries
  • Taprooms
  • Vending machines
  • Farmers Markets

Retail Food Inspectors work with the regulated industry to verify compliance with food safety rules and laws. Inspectors may also collect food, water, or environmental samples as part of ongoing surveillance or as part of evidence. 

The MDA Retail Food Program collaborates with multiple partners across the state and nation. The MDA delegates it's authority to license and inspect regulated facilities to seven agencies within the state including certain counties and cities which enforce the same food laws and regulations as the MDA. In addition, the MDA also partners with agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Each year, the Retail Food Program also conducts Country of Origin Labeling reviews through a contract with the United States Department of Agriculture. Through these combined efforts we can respond to food safety emergencies such as food-borne illness outbreaks and natural disasters. 

Within the MDA, Retail Food Inspectors work closely with Plan Review Officers to review facility plans before new retail food establishments are constructed or remodeled. The facility plans that are reviewed include the facility layout, proposed menu, and intended equipment to be used. The Food and Feed Safety Division (FFSD) Compliance Officers assist Retail Food Inspectors in gaining compliance with food safety regulations and take enforcement actions as necessary. Retail Food Inspectors also work closely with FFSD licensing staff to answer numerous licensing questions and process license applications and renewals. Some food facilities are inspected by multiple inspection programs within the MDA such as the Manufactured Food Program and the Meat Inspection Program

The Retail Food Program is enrolled in the Food and Drug Administration's Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards and works to meet all nine elements of the standards. These standards define what constitutes a highly effective and responsive regulatory program and provide a system upon which the MDA can build a continuous improvement process. This allows the Retail Food Program to focus on the reduction of risk factors known to cause or contribute to food-borne illness and promote active managerial control of these risk factors in retail facilities. 

Delegated Agencies

Within the state there are seven cities and counties to which the MDA delegates its authority. Within these jurisdictions the local agency is responsible for licensing, plan review, and enforcement of the Minnesota Food Code and other applicable regulations as it relates to retail food sales. 

Agency Address Phone MDA Liaison
City of Bloomington Environmental Health Division
City of Bloomington
1800 West Old Shakopee Road
Bloomington, MN 55431
952-563-8934 Adam Lewis,
City of Brooklyn Park Code of Enforcement and Public Health Division
5200 85th Avenue North
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
763-493-8070 Doris Ruley
Hennepin County
(except Crystal, Golden Valley, and St. Louis Park
Epidemiology and Environmental Health
1011 South First Street
Suite 215
Hopkins, MN 55343
612-543-5200 Cara Pederson
City of Minneapolis Minneapolis Environmental Health
Public Service Center
250 South Fourth Street
Room 414
Minneapolis, MN 55414
612-673-3000 Greg Koshiol
City of Minnetonka City of Minnetonka Health Division
14600 Minnetonka Boulevard
Minnetonka, MN 55345
952-939-8200 Adam Lewis
Ramsey County
(except Maplewood, New Brighton, and City of St. Paul)
Environmental Health Section
St. Paul-Ramsey County Department of Public Health
2785 White Bear Avenue, Suite 350
Maplewood, MN 55109
651-266-1199 Raymond Starin
City of Saint Cloud Health Inspections Department
400 Second Street South
St. Cloud, MN 56301
320-255-7214 Holly Blais

Minnesota Department of Health

Retail Food Establishments are licensed by different regulatory authorities in Minnesota based on the type and predominance of business. Predominance of business means that a majority (51% or more) of the gross annual food sales comes from that type of food or activity. If you want a license for an operation that is a primary food service, such as a restaurant, then you need a license from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Go to the MDH Licensing Jurisdiction page for more information.