Food Protection Program
The Cecil County Health Department’s Environmental health Services Division regulates food service facilities through implementation of COMAR 10.15.03. A Food service facility means any place where food or drink is prepared for sale or service on the premises or elsewhere to the public with or without charge. Some examples of food service facilities include restaurants, health care facilities, and schools. The Environmental Health Services Division reviews plans for new construction or changes to existing food service facilities, assists the facilities manager in developing a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) risk management plans, licenses, and inspects facilities. In addition, the division investigates facility complaints and possible food borne outbreaks and illnesses.
Food Service facilities are classified as high, moderate, or low priority based on the risk to the public. High priority facilities include food services at health care facilities and restaurants that cook, hot hold, and cool food for later use. High priority facilities must be inspected three times per year. Moderate priority facilities cook and serve food which is prepared on the premises and must be inspected twice per year. Low priority facilities provide commercially packaged foods that are potentially hazardous and are inspected once every other year.
Violations found during a food service facility inspection are classified as either a “critical item” or “good retail practice”. Critical items are practices that are necessary to reduce the incidence of food-related illness and these violations must be corrected at the time of inspection or the facility must close. Good retail practices are measures to prevent the introduction of pathogens, chemicals, or physical objects into foods. If a routine inspection reveals good retail practice violations that cannot be corrected at the time of inspection, a re-inspection must be completed within 30 days.
Any establishment in Cecil County that prepares and sells food to the public must have a valid food service facility license from the Cecil County Health Department to operate at the retail level. There are regulations and requirements that must be met to become licensed as a food service facility. Contact the Cecil County Health Department’s Environmental Health Services Division for more information. A food service facility license is valid for one year based on the date of issuance. Food processing plants are licensed by the Maryland Department of Health’s Office of Food Protection.
The Cecil County Health Department also issues temporary special food service facility licenses in conjunction with special events in Cecil County. Special events include fairs, carnivals, public exhibitions, construction projects, recreational facility events, fundraising events, or similar gatherings. Temporary food service licenses are only valid during the duration of the special event not more than 14 days, consecutively. Volunteer Fire Companies may operate for up to 30 days, consecutively.
Additional information on the licensing of food service facilities may be found in COMAR 10.15.03.28 or by contacting the Cecil County Health Department’s Environmental Health Services Division.
Permits and Forms
- Food Service Facility Application: Application for a license to operate a Food Service Facility.
- Food Service Plan Review Application: Application for Food Service Facility plan review.
- HACCP Plan Review Application: Application for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HAACP) plan review, menu submittal, priority risk assessment, and preparation procedures. HACCP plans are only required for high and moderate priority food service facilities.
- Excluded Food Service Facility Application: Application for a license to operate a food service facility that is tax exempt.
- Temporary Special Food Service Facility Application: Application for a temporary license to operate as a temporary food service facility.
- Excluded Temporary Special Food Service Facility Application: Application for a temporary license to operate as a temporary food service facility that is exempt.
- Temporary Food Service Facility Handout: Details the process to become licensed as a temporary food service facility and how to operate during the special event.
- Appeal Process for Food Service Facility Decisions
For More Information
FoodSafety.gov: Provides information on keeping food safe and current recalls and outbreaks
Recalls.gov: Provides a comprehensive listing of recalls and alerts on all products including food.
Cottage Foods: Information for Maryland Cottage Food Businesses
Cannabidiol (CBD) in Food: Information on laws prohibiting CBD or THC in Maryland food or beverages.