Denver is the host to approximately 5,000 food businesses. These businesses include restaurants, bars, convenience stores, bakeries, dairies, grocery stores, and much more. The Food Safety Program is designed to reduce the incidence of food-borne disease, commonly called food poisoning, through inspection of food businesses, education of those working with food, investigation of complaints, enforcement of regulations that affect the safety of food, and education of consumers about food safety.
Learn more about compliance requirements for temporary retail food establishments, mobile food operations, caterers, food peddlers, marijuana food operations, and a plan review for new or remodeled food facilities.
At a minimum, full service restaurants are inspected twice per year, most delis and fast food restaurants are inspected annually, and facilities with very limited food options - such as bars and convenience stores - are inspected once every 18 months. Facilities receive additional regulatory visits when reinspections are required or complaint investigations are conducted. For information about applying for a variance to the regulations, view the DDPHE Board's rules here.
On April 6, 2017, revisions to the Denver Food Establishment Regulations went into effect.
All food businesses must maintain a current Denver Business and Professional license through the Department of Excise and Licenses. The Department of Excise and Licenses can help determine which license is appropriate for your food business.
For more specific questions, please contact us at 720-913-1311 or 311 in the Denver Metro area. You may also contact the department at firstname.lastname@example.org
Enforcement tools used by the Public Health Inspection Division to achieve compliance include civil penalties, court summons, disposal of food, retention of equipment, and closure of facilities when an imminent health hazard exists. To pay civil penalties online, go to www.denvergov.org/deh/paycitation.
PHI's Mobile Food News quarterly newsletter is intended to keep the food truck and food cart industry informed about upcoming events, health and safety requirements, and helpful tips to keep mobile food units running safely.
**Effective October 1, 2015, Plan Reviews will be required for operators obtaining a new Mobile Unit license. Mobile Plan Review Forms must be completed and approved by the DDPHE to obtain a new license.**
To learn more about Denver’s special events, view Denver’s event calendar, or to access the event request form, click here.
In 2012, Colorado passed a Cottage Foods Law allowing for certain low risk foods to be prepared and sold from an individual’s home kitchen without a food business license. The law allows for sales directly to consumers only, and there are certain labeling and food safety requirements that manufacturers must adhere to. For more information, please review the following resources from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:
Sales of whole, uncut produce are allowed in Colorado without licensing. The requirements of the Cottage Foods Law do not apply to sales of only whole, uncut produce. For information about best practices for growing, harvesting, and handling produce, review the following brochure:
Information about marijuana consumer safety and applicable regulations can be found here.
FDA Bad Bug Book - This handbook provides basic facts regarding food-borne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. It brings together in one place information from the Food & Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, and the National Institutes of Health.
Food-borne Illness Investigations
Food borne illness is a result of eating contaminated food that harbors enough disease causing bacteria or viruses to make you ill.
The Public Health Inspection division offers many forms of educational resources. Quarterly food safety classes are offered at the Denver Animal Shelter community room for $10 per person.
Classes are also available to be taught in your restaurant by request and pricing varies by class size:
Price Tier 1 - $250 for 10-30 attendees
Price Tier 2 - $350 for 30-50 attendees
Price Tier 3 - $500 for 50+ attendeeds
An online food safety course is available for $10 at State Food Safety.com.
In addition, the documents below can help you develop and implement effective food safety systems in your establishment.
Food Safety System Tool Kit - English
Food Safety System Tool Kit - Spanish
Food Safety Visual Aids (Less Color)
Food Safety Visual Aide (More Color)
Food Security Preventive Measures
Food Safety Training Series: Rapid Cooling (English)
Food Safety Training Series: Cross Contamination Food Safety (English)
Food Safety Training Series: Proper Holding Temperatures (English)
Food Safety Training Series: Rapid Cooling (Vietnamese)
Food Safety Training Series: Cross Contamination (Vietnamese)
Food Safety Training Series: Proper Holding Temperatures (Vietnamese)
Food Safety Training Series: Rapid Cooling (Spanish)
Food Safety Training Series: Cross Contamination (Spanish)
Food Safety Training Series: Proper Holding Temperatures (Spanish)
The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) mission is to empower Denver’s communities to live better, longer. The Public Health Inspections Division, a division of DDPHE, meets this mission by educating people who work in regulated industries and settings, investigating public health hazards, and enforcing public health laws. It is our goal to serve all citizens and customers with respect, transparency and professionalism in a timely manner. Your feedback is critical in helping us achieve our goals. Please take a moment to complete the PHI Customer Service Survey below.
Take an anonymous survey to let us know how your most recent inspection went.
Por favor, visite http://surveymonkey.com/s/foodinspectionsurveyespanol para completar una encuesta breve y proporcionarnos realimentación sobre esta inspección.
Summer Hours (April through October)
Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Winter hours (November through March)
Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
200 W 14th Ave. 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80204
720-865-5401 (To be connected to PHI Main Line)
Denver 311 Help Center Call 3-1-1
Outside Denver Call 720-913-1311
TTY Service: 720-913-8479