combined images showing floor plan, convenience store, woman shopping in grocery store, and couple making kettle corn

Retail Food Establishments

A retail food establishment is a facility that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food and beverages for human consumption. The food from a retail establishment is then sold directly to the consumer or indirectly through delivery services, and typically eaten offsite from where it was produced. Some examples of retail food establishments include, but are not limited to:

  • Markets
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Seasonal temporary food stands
  • Vending machines
  • Bakeries
  • Tap rooms
  • Wine or spirits tasting rooms
  • More definitions can be found within the Minnesota Food Code 4626.0020 Subpart 35.

When a Plan Review Submittal is Required

The Minnesota Food Code 4626.1720 requires plans to be submitted prior to the new construction or extensive remodeling of any retail food establishment.

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.

It is the MDA’s goal to ensure consistent standards are applied to all plan reviews. This is done by verifying that the facilities and equipment you intend to use meet the requirements before you make any purchases. Reviewing your plans and providing feedback before you purchase equipment or begin construction will help you avoid increased costs or project delays should changes be required to comply with the Minnesota Food Code.

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 reviewer to alert you to any required changes that need to be implemented prior to approval. Equipment should not be purchased prior to plan review approval.

Where to Submit the Application and Associated Documents:

The plan review application, fee, and documents can be mailed to:

Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Attention: Cashier
625 Robert Street North
Saint Paul, MN 55155-2538