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Food Establishment License

Food Handlers' Permit

How to apply for a Food Establishment License?

The Public Health Food Handling Regulations require that prior to operating a food establishment the operator must apply to the Medical Officer of Health in the parish of the location of the establishment, for a license to operate the establishments.

  1. The client must make an application to the Health Department which include payment of the requisite fees.

  2. Within two weeks of application, an inspection is done by a Public Health Inspector.

  3. If the establishment meets requirements then it will be immediately recommended.

  4. Otherwise, a work-plan is given along with a timeline to address the issues found on inspection.

  5. Other enforcement actions may be required depending on the nature and severity of the findings.

  6. A re-visit is done to the premises at the expiration of the time and an inspection done.

  7. The establishment has a maximum of three inspections or three months from application - whichever comes first - after which the applicant may be asked to re-apply (or other actions).

  8. The premises may be recommended once the requirements are met.

  9. The licence is valid for one year from date of issuance.

  10. The licence must be displayed conspicuously in the food establishment.

  11. It may be revoked or suspended if there are breaches.

Food Inspection/Compliance Guidelines

This is a summary of what you need to have in place in order for the Establishment to be certified.

The Source of the Food Items

  • The source of the food items must be safe and approved that comply with the law. 

  • Must be received under approved/suitable conditions.

  • Documentation on the food sources are to be in place.

  • Foods are to be in sound condition and free from contamination or the risk of contamination.

  • Meat received must be stamped with the official stamp of approval.

  • Food must be properly labelled and comply with the labelling laws (Ministry of Health and the Bureau of Standards. 

  • Bulk and original containers must be labelled.

  • All other container to which food was transferred from its original container must be labelled identifying the food items.

Temperature Control

  • Potentially hazardous foods are to be handled and maintained at the correct temperatures; 5°C and below (cold foods) or 63°C and above (hot foods).

  • There must be adequate facilities in place to maintain food and product temperatures for both hot and cold foods.

  • Thermometers are to be in place for monitoring food temperatures:
    For mechanically refrigerated facilities there must be a numerically scaled indicating thermometer suitably located in the unit.
    For cooking establishments- a metal stemmed indicating thermometer is to be in place to monitoring cooking, holding and refrigeration and food stage temperatures.

  • Potentially hazardous foods must be properly thawed:
    In a refrigerator unit (not below 5°C)
    Under safe running water
    In a microwave
    As part of the cooking process

  • Reheat cooked foods thoroughly:
    Thorough reheating means that all parts of the food must reach at least 70°C.

Preventing of Cross Contamination/Contamination


Absence of the risk of contamination and separation of spoiled /damaged foods

  • The left- overs of potentially hazardous foods must not be re-served unless it is a pre-packaged

  • The package must be in sound condition.

  • Spoiled or damaged food must not be kept with food intended for consumption.

Food protection during display, storage, preparation, dispensing, packaging and transportation

  • At all stages foods and food contact surfaces must be protected from risk introduction of diseased causing agents due to physical, biological, and chemical contamination.

  • Raw or cooked foods must be properly stored in a container.

  • All raw foods must be washed prior to use/consuming.

  • Raw foods must not be served except for fruits and vegetables: Many raw foods, most notably poultry, meats, eggs and unpasteurized milk, may be contaminated with disease-causing organisms. Thorough cooking will kill the pathogens, but remember that the temperature of all parts of the food must reach at least 70 °C.

  • Food on display must be protected from contamination by consumers.

  • A food safely management system is recommended for each item prepared/produced at the
    establishment. For example Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).

Avoid contact between raw foods and cooked foods

  • Safely cooked food can become contaminated through even the slightest contact with raw food. This cross-contamination can be direct, as when raw poultry meat comes into contact with cooked foods. It can also be more subtle. For example, don't prepare a raw chicken and then use the same unwashed cutting board and knife to carve the cooked bird. Doing so can reintroduce the disease-causing organisms.

  • Food serving containers must be protected from contamination.

Handling of food/including ice and serving equipment minimises

  • Avoid direct touching and manual contact with ready to eat foods and food containers as much as is possible.

  • Ice for consumption must be dispensed with a scoop, tong or automatic dispensing equipment. The scoop/utensil must be kept and stored in a manner to prevent contamination.

  • The handle of the utensil must not come in contact with food.

  • Food serving utensils must be protected from contamination.



  • Personnel with infections must be excluded from the establishment.

  • Each personnel working in the establishment must have a valid food handler's permit. The record
    and documentation must be in place to attest to this.

  • Hand-washing facilities, sanitary facilities must be in place including restrooms including changing rooms.

Hand washing and good hygiene practices

  • Adequate hand washing facilities must be in place

  • All principal food preparation areas must be equipped with potable running water to include wash basin, liquid soap, hand drying device, and non-contact waste bin.

  • Wash hands thoroughly before starting to prepare food and after every interruption - especially if you have to scratch or have been to the toilet.

  • Wash hands after preparing raw foods such as fish, meat, or poultry, wash again before you start handling other foods. And if you have an infection on your hand, be sure to bandage or cover it before preparing food.

  • Nails must be short and trimmed.

  • No smoking in the food areas and wash hands after smoking.

Clean clothes and hair restraints

  • Food handlers must at all times be wearing clean and washable outer gears.

  • Clean head gear is to borne to prevent contamination of food and food contact surfaces by hair.
    Beard must be covered/ restrained or absent.

Food Contact Surfaces

Food contact surfaces including containers must be:

  • Impervious and non-absorbent

  • Smooth

  • Non corrosive and nontoxic

  • Easily cleaned (even for cleaning in place process)

  • Constructed approved and safe material

  • Not made of wood unless single use

  • Approved rubber or plastic material only


All food related equipment must be easily accessible for cleaning and inspection:

  • Without being disassembled or

  • Being easily disassembled

Non-Food Contact Surfaces

Non-food contact surfaces

These are surfaces in food establishments not intended for contact with food unless through splash or food debris requiring frequent cleaning. 

  • Cloths that come into contact with dishes and utensils should be changed frequently and boiled before re-use. Separate cloths for cleaning the floors also require frequent washing.

  • Must be free of cracks and crevices

  • Must be impervious and non-absorbent

  • Must be smooth and easily cleanable

  • Must be properly located

  • Must be free of soil

  • Must be cleanable

  • Should not result in contamination

Floor, wall and ceiling

These must be clean and in good repair and facilitate ductless cleaning.

Cleaning and Sanitisation

Ware-washing facilities

  • Appropriate ware washing facilities to allow for washing, rinsing and sanitisation of utensils and food equipment must be in place.

  • At least a doubled sink of adequate size must be in place.

  • Adequate tables for placement of soiled utensils separately from clean items. It should not interfere with the flow of the ware washing process.

Accurate thermometer of test kit

  • Accurate thermometer of test kit available depending on the methods used for sanitisation. This will determine the efficacy of the process.


  • All table wares must be washed rinsed and sanitized after use.

  • All kitchen equipment must be washed rinsed and sanitized after use and following the interruption of the operation.


The approved procedure:

  • Chemical method: using Chlorine, Iodine or other approved chemical) following instructions of the chemical manufacturer (based on labels/manufacturer safety data sheet).

  • By rinsing, spaying or swabbing.

  • Heat treatment by immersing in heat at east 75 O C for at least 1/2 hour.

Water Supply

  • Safe and sufficient amount of waster must be available for the cleaning/sanitation process and for general food preparation.

  • Hot and cold water with adequate pressure is recommended.

  • Safe water is just as important for food preparation as for drinking.

  • Adequate water must be supplied to sanitary facilities including rest rooms.

Sewerage and Waste Disposal

  • The establishment must be connected to an approved sewage disposal system; municipal, private, packaged plan or otherwise. There should be no risk to public health or pollution of the environment and shall be constructed and operated according to law.

  • Liquid waste from solid waste compaction is considered as sewage.

  • The plumbing design must prevent the risk of cross connection, back-siphonage and backflow.

  • There must be no risk of contamination of potable water by waste water or contamination of the food environment.


Number convenient accessible:

  • The number and type toilet and hand washing facility must be adequate for staff and clients.

  • Installed according to the public health law and free of nuisance.

  • They must be accessible at all times to employees.

  • Toilets and urinals shall be designed in a manner that is easily cleanable.

Insect and Rodent Control

  • There must be adequate lighting and lighting fixtures as required.

  • The facility must be must be properly ventilated including rooms and equipment as required.


Effective measure for rodent control must be in place through:

  • Sanitation measures to prevent harborage and food for pets including proper management of solid waste.

  • Rodent proofing/screening to prevent access of insects and rodents.

  • Chemical programming where necessary with appropriate documentation.


Adequate numbers and types of covered containers/ receptacles must:

  • Be insect and rodent proof

  • Be frequently removed

  • Have outside areas properly enclosed

  • Present no public health nuisance

Toxic Material: Necessary, Properly Stored & Labelled

  • Only those chemical materials reacted to the maintenance of the cleanliness or hygiene of the establishment shall be found at the facility.

  • The containers shall be labelled prominently

  • Medications and first aid supplies must not be kept in the establishment food storages or food preparation areas

  • The use of cleaning compounds on food contact surfaces must leave no toxic residue on the items and present no hazard to employee and clients.

  • Separate areas from food areas must be used for safe storage of toxic material

Other Operations

  • Premises must be maintained free of litter

  • There must be separation from living quarters

  • Clean and soiled table linen must be properly stored

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