What is a Plan Review?
Plan Review is the process of submitting retail food establishment facility designs and a proposed menu for review and approval before construction or remodeling of the facility begins. Once submitted, the MDA plan review officers will review the information and ensure it meets the minimum and maximum standards outlined in the Minnesota Food Code and applicable MDA rules and statutes. Plan review officers will verify the sanitary design, facility layout, operational and product flow, menus, equipment specifications, and more. A final plan review letter is provided to the applicant with an outline of the project and any necessary changes to the plan. Some examples of retail food establishments include, but are not limited to:
- Grocery stores
- Convenience stores
- Meat markets
- Vending machines and micro-markets
- Food stands
When a Plan Review Submittal is Required
The Minnesota Food Code requires plans to be submitted prior to the new construction or extensive remodeling of any retail food establishment that fall under the MDA's jurisdiction.
When to Submit a Plan Review
Applications must be submitted at least 30 days prior to construction or remodeling to allow sufficient time for the plan review officer to alert you to any required changes that need to be implemented prior to approval. Please note that equipment should not be purchased before receiving plan review approval to avoid the risk of investing in equipment that may not meet regulatory requirements.
Why a Plan Review is Required
The plan review process seeks to ensure that your facility and equipment meet the minimum requirements of the Minnesota Food Code before construction or remodeling begins. For example, some equipment might not be easily cleanable and could harbor harmful bacteria or be constructed of toxic materials. This equipment would not be approved for use.
To maintain consistent standards across all plan reviews, we verify that all proposed facilities and equipment meet regulatory requirements before any purchases are made. This proactive approach allows for the review of plans and feedback on any necessary changes before equipment is purchased or construction begins. By doing so, you can avoid any unnecessary costs or delays that may arise should changes be required to meet the Food Code requirements.