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.
View a short video about safe food handling practices at home or
In recent months, Denver has seen an increase in the sale of cannbidiol (CBD) products for human consumption. Find out more here.
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.
Full service restaurants are inspected at a minimum of twice per year, most delis and fast food restaurants are inspected at minimum of once annually, and facilities with very limited food like bars and convenience stores are inspected at least 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 Board of Environmental Health's rules here.
On August 1, 2014, revisions to the Denver Food Establishment Regulations went into effect. A summary of the changes to the regulations can be found here.
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 summonses, disposal of food, retention of equipment, and closure of facilities when an imminent health hazard exists. To pay civil penalties online, go to denvergov.org/deh/paycitation.
**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 Department of Environmental Health to obtain a new license.**
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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:
Colorado Cottage Foods Act Fact Sheet
Colorado Cottage Foods Producer Brochure
Colorado Cottage Foods Eligibility Checklist
Fresh Produce-Cottage Residential Sales Handout - English
Fresh Produce-Cottage Residential Sales Handout - Spanish
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
The Public Health Inspection division has many resources and forms. We offer quarterly food safety classes at our office for $10 (see brochure below), an online food safety course for $10 at State Food Safety.com, one free consultative visit per year to all regulated facilities, and customized food safety classes taught at your facility ($10 per attendee). 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)
HAACP Plan Review Application
Time as a Public Health Control Application
Sample Components of Prerequisite Programs for HACCP
Sample Production Flow Chart Form for HACCP
Sample Production Flow Chart for HACCP
Sample Critical Control Points Decision Tree for HACCP
Sample Hazard Analysis Chart Form for HACCP
Sample Critical Control Point Summary Chart Form for HACCP
Sample Thermometer Calibration Log Form for HACCP
Sample Refrigerator Air Temperature Monitoring Form for HACCP
Sample Freezer Air Temperature Monitoring Form for HACCP
Sample Temperature Log for Stored Food for HACCP
Sample Temperature Log for Cooking Food for HACCP
Sample Temperature Log for Cooling Food for HACCP
Managing Food Safety - An Operators Manual for Applying HACCP
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Public Health Inspections Division Programs
Monday - Friday
7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
By appointment only between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. by calling 311 or 720-913-1311.