A wholesale food processor/manufacturer makes food and sells to other businesses for resale (e.g. restaurants, grocery stores, other retail establishments, or distributors). However, if an operation is producing only United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected products, then this establishment would be licensed as a Wholesale Food Processor/Manufacturer - USDA. 

If a food operation uses other non-meat raw materials and/or other food ingredients and manufactures a food product not inspected by the USDA, then a Wholesale Food Processor/Manufacturer license would be the appropriate license type. A facility that formulates, reformulates, reprocesses, or repackages other foods which contain less than 3% raw meat (beef, pork, poultry, etc.), or less than 2% ready-to-eat meat items would also be considered a Wholesale Food Processor/Manufacturer. 

Packaging meat on at a food manufacturer







Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Minnesota Statute states that no person shall engage in the business of manufacturing, processing, selling, handling, or storing food without having first obtained a license for doing such business from the commissioner

You will need to determine your predominant mode of sales. If you know or estimate that at least 50 percent of your gross annual food sales will be to other businesses/establishments, then you will be required to obtain a Wholesale Food Processor/Manufacturer - USDA license at your processing location. If you have questions regarding your predominant method of sales, please utilize the Food Licensing Wizard, or contact the MDA licensing liaison.

Even if your operation is producing one non-meat item, then your license type would be an MDA Wholesale Food Processor/Manufacturer, and not an MDA Wholesale Food Processor/Manufacturer – USDA license. An MDA Wholesale Food Processor/Manufacturer – USDA license is only applicable to establishments that manufacture and distribute 100 percent USDA items only. If your establishment produces a few seasonal non-meat (non-USDA) items such as dips, spreads, salsas, stuffings, etc., then your facility would be licensed as an MDA Wholesale Food Processor/Manufacturer.

Contact the MDA to determine your area Manufactured Food Program (MFP) inspector and arrange an in-person inspection. The area MFP inspector will provide you with a paper copy of the MDA Wholesale Food Processor/Manufacturer - USDA license application. An electronic form of the license application is NOT available through the MDA website.

Contact the MDA or submit a Food Licensing Liaison Request and the MDA licensing liaison will email you the area inspectors contact information.

NOTE: Contact your area inspector at least two weeks prior to your anticipated business start date.


  • Your business plan
  • Manufacturing/processing location(s)
  • Equipment & facility design 
  • Food production process/steps
  • Labels (Finished product or bulk)
  • Ingredient and finished product storage
  • Distribution methods

In addition to basic business information such as legal name, DBA, physical and mailing addresses, the following four items are required on the one page license application:

  1. Minnesota tax ID number associated with the business name registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State or your Social Security number, if filing as an individual.
  2. Workers Compensation Insurance policy number and effective dates if you plan on having paid or compensated employees (if applicable)
  3. Estimated gross annual food sales (January 1st – December 31st)
  4. Check, money order or cashier’s check for the license fee


License fees are based on your gross annual food sales. If you are found operating without a license, then a no-license penalty fee will apply.

License and Late Penalty Fees
Anticipated Gross Annual Food Sales License Fee No License Penalty
$0 - $125,000 $112.00 $74.00
$125,001 - $250,000 $214.00 $141.00
$250,001 - $1,000,000 $333.00 $220.00
$1,000,001 - $5,000,000 $425.00 $281.00
$5,000,001 - $10,000,000 $521.00 $344.00
$10,000,001 - $15,000,000 $765.00 $505.00
$15,000,001 - $20,000,000 $893.00 $589.00
$20,000,001 - $25,000,000 $1,027.00 $678.00
$25,000,001 - $50,000,000 $1,161.00 $766.00
$50,000,001 - $100,000,000 $1,295.00 $855.00
Over $100,000,001 $1,428.00 $942.00


Annually. You must renew your license by December 31st each year. If you renew later than December 31st, a late fee will be applied. A license renewal form will be mailed to you prior to December each year. Online license renewal is an option.  

License Renewal and Late Penalty Fees
Gross Annual Food Sales and Services Renewal License Fee Late Penalty
$0 - $125,000 $112.00 $37.00
$125,001 - $250,000 $214.00 $71.00
$250,001 - $1,000,000 $333.00 $110.00
$1,000,001 - $5,000,000 $425.00 $140.00
$5,000,001 - $10,000,000 $521.00 $172.00
$10,000,001 - $15,000,000 $765.00 $252.00
$15,000,001 - $20,000,000 $893.00 $295.00
$20,000,001 - $25,000,000 $1,027.00 $339.00
$25,000,001 - $50,000,000 $1,161.00 $383.00
$50,000,001 - $100,000,000 $1,295.00 $427.00
Over $100,000,001 $1,428.00 $471.00


Review the MDA webpage Starting a New Business. This will inform you about topics such as:

Water source & waste water system requirements

  • Food business zoning requirements
  • Local authority inspections (e.g. building, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, fire)
  • Certificate of Occupancy, if necessary
  • Meat or dairy products

It is your responsibility to become familiar with all the applicable regulations and Minnesota Statues to ensure you are manufacturing food safely and in the best interest of public health. Depending on the food being produced in your facility, you may need to employ an individual with specialized training, seek additional education/training, or you may need to consult with an external source (university, expert, process authority or laboratory).