Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get certified in Missouri to be a food handler?
How do I get a license to operate a food establishment in Missouri?
What do I need to do to start a home food business – i.e. making and selling homemade jams and jellies, candy, barbeque sauce, salsas, etc.?
Complaint regarding a food service establishment – i.e. cold food, unsanitary conditions, and foreign object such as a band-aid or cigarette butt in the food.
Complaints regarding contracting food-borne illness from eating at a particular establishment.
How do I get a copy of the Food Code?
Complaint regarding outdated food items being sold at a grocery.
Questions regarding licensing of a mobile food vehicle.
Complaint about a packaged food product, (such as a canned good) which appears to be adulterated, contains metal, plastic, insect etc.

 

How do I get certified in Missouri to be a food handler?

a. Missouri does not require food handler certification

b. Some of the local health agencies, (city or county) require food handler certification, therefore, the caller needs to call his/her specific location where they are working and, verify whether certification is required.

c. The Missouri Restaurant Association at (314) 576-2777 can provide assistance with obtaining classes for certification.

How do I get a license to operate a food establishment in Missouri?

a. The State of Missouri does not license food establishments.

b. Some local jurisdictions require licensing. The caller needs to call their local health agency to determine if a license is needed.

What do I need to do to start a home food business – i.e. making and selling homemade jams and jellies, candy, barbeque sauce, salsas, etc.?
The caller should contact their local health agency to determine specific requirements, including licensing, facility requirements, etc. In general, an individual may not use their home kitchen to prepare food to be sold or distributed. The processor must also provide proper labeling for the product, meaning the product label must bear the name of the product, a list of ingredients from most predominant ingredient to the least, the net weight of the product, and name and address of the manufacturer.

Producers of certain types of food such as salsas, pickled foods and canned foods such as green beans etc. must register their process with the Food and Drug Administration, as well as obtain review of their process by a Process Authority. This means an expert in the field of food safety has reviewed the recipe and canning process. Processors of these “low acid canned foods” or “acidified” foods must also attend a course entitled “Better Process Control School”.

Additional information can be obtained from the Department of Health and Senior Services Food Protection program and also by visiting FDA’s web site.

Complaint regarding a food service establishment – i.e. cold food, unsanitary conditions, and foreign object such as a band-aid or cigarette butt in the food.
Complainants are referred to the local public health agency in the jurisdiction where the establishment is located, since they are the regulatory authority and inspect these facilities on a routine basis.

Complaints regarding contracting food-borne illness from eating at a particular establishment.
The complainant is referred to the local public health agency in the jurisdiction where the food establishment is located. If they have already talked to the county, the complainant should contact the Communicable Disease Section at Department of Health and Senior Services to report a possible food borne illness.

How do I get a copy of the Food Code?
The food code is on the Internet.

Complaint regarding outdated food items being sold at a grocery.
Dates on packages of food (including meat) are not enforceable under the law. The manufacturers put them on the package, as a guide for consumers and retailers but the health department cannot enforce these dates as dates by which products must be removed from sale.

Questions regarding licensing of a mobile food vehicle.
The evaluation/inspection of these vehicles needs to be conducted by the local public health agency. Even if the vehicle will be traveling around the State, it must be inspected by the local health dept.

Complaint about a packaged food product, (such as a canned good) which appears to be adulterated, contains metal, plastic, insect etc.
This type of complaint can be referred to the local health agency. As much information as possible needs to be provided by the complainant, including name of product, package size and type, manufacturer’s name and address, any product codes on the package and where and when the product was purchased. Generally, after this information is collected, it is given to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who regulates food manufacturers who ship products interstate. FDA, will in turn, transfer the information to the state regulatory authority in the state where the product was manufactured. In the case of products manufactured in Missouri, the complaint will be investigated by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services food inspection staff.