Starting a Retail Food Business
To open or remodel a retail food service business in Clark
County requires elements of planning, knowledge of Federal, State, and
local food codes, and a basic understating of food safety. The
Indiana Food Code defines a retail food establishment that stores,
prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human
consumption, examples include restaurants, satellite or catered feeding
locations, markets, grocery stores, etc...
All of these
types and additional establishments located in Clark County are
required to register with the Clark County Health Department.
Protocol for Opening a New Food Establishment
Retail food establishments are required to submit a plan
review (detailed drawing or schematic) to the Clark County Health
Department regardless of whether building a new facility or remodeling
an existing structure. There are State and local regulations that
may affect the facility design and/or construction. To verify
compliance with these regulations apply your facility designs to
410 IAC 7-24 and the
Clark County Sanitary Code. Once you have reviewed these documents,
follow the bullets below to guide your submittal.
Guidance Documents For Planning
Confirm your state approval or apply for approval by
contacting the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
Submit state approved plans to the Clark County Health Department for plan review at least 6 weeks prior to opening.
Submit your plans, spec sheets, equipment cut sheets,
Application for Plan Review,
Review Packet, and
Service Permit Application with applicable fees listed on the
must be paid at the time of plan submittal. If your facility
utilizes an outdoor grill as a means of cooking, please click
Grilling Guidance and Tips for additional documents and
Your plans will be submitted to an Environmental Health
Specialist for review. After which, a letter approving plans or
requesting revisions will be sent to the owner and/or architect.
After plans are approved you must pay for your Food Establishment Permit. The
amount depends on the menu type as defined in Indiana Retail Food Code.
After all approvals and permits have been granted, please
contact your designated Environmentalist to schedule a pre-opening inspection. This
inspection will help you prepare your establishment for the scheduled
opening and greatly reduce potential critical issues. This inspection shall be conducted at least 1 week prior to opening.
At this time, you should submit a "Disaster Plan Information Sheet",
please click link and provide completed form to your inspector.
The final step is the opening inspection. This inspection should be conducted on your opening day or during the preparation for a V.I.P. or staff celebration prior to opening of the facility to the public.
Opening days or V.I.P. events cannot take place during holidays,
weekends, or hours outside the normal business hours of the Health
Department. An exception to this policy would be a facility that
only has operating hours outside the normal office hours of the Clark
County Health Department. Food handling techniques will be
assessed, food temperatures will be taken, and any final questions you
may have will be addressed. If no critical violations are found, you
will be issued a Food Service Permit. This permit must be displayed in
public view. In addition, your facility may be required to obtain a
"certified food handler", to determine if this will be required of your
facility click the
After opening, you should regularly consult your Health
Inspector for any questions that may arise. The Clark County Health
Department will make efforts to inspect the facility based on risk
assessments. Additional inspections may be necessary if complaints are
filed with the Health Department.
A copy of the
410 IAC 7-24 is required to be maintained
or located in the food service establishment, this document may be
downloaded from the Indiana State Department of Health or
purchased as a bound book at Budget Print Center in Jeffersonville, IN
for a nominal fee.
Commercial On-Site Sewage Disposal System Procedures (If in rural
part of Clark County)
Food Security Preventative Measures Guidance
Operator Response to Inspection
410 IAC 7-24
Clark County Sanitary Code
Department of Health plan review section if your proposed
establishment would be considered a commercial facility/operation or a
facility not regulated by the Clark County Health Department.