Food safety

Important Application and Payment Changes

Environmental Health Services is still accepting food establishment, mobile food unit and plan review applications by U.S. Postal Mail, fax and email: During this time, they will accept credit card payments over the phone. Environmental Health Specialists are still available for phone consultation, foodborne illness related complaints and acute public health related complaints. Please contact 804-205-3912 for more information or to make a credit card payment. Please mail applications and payments to Richmond City Health District Environmental Health, 400 E. Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23219. Please fax applications to 804-786-9007 or 804-371-2208.

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Restaurant and Health Inspection Reports
A major part of the division’s work is permitting and regulating food establishments.  There are over 1,100 food establishments in the City of Richmond.  These establishments include restaurants, mobile food units, school cafeterias, day care centers, adult homes, hospital kitchens and coffee shops. They are regularly inspected as determined by the uniform statewide risk categorization system.

Food Establishment Permits

Anyone planning to operate a food establishment in the City of Richmond is required to apply for a food establishment permit with the Richmond City Health District. A complete plan review is conducted on all new and remodeled establishments.  For more information on how to open a food establishment in the City of Richmond and a complete list of all required documents, please review the “Opening a Food Establishment” guidance below.

Mobile Food Units

Mobile Food Units are mobile food establishments. "Mobile food unit" means a food establishment mounted on wheels (excluding boats in the water) readily moveable from place to place at all times during operation and shall include, but not be limited to, pushcarts, trailers, trucks, or vans. The unit, all operations, and all equipment must be integral to and be within or attached to the unit.  Mobile Food Units now have stickers as a permit which must be placed on the unit in plain view of the public.

Mobile Food Units applicants are required to submit a Mobile Food Unit Permit Application and Mobile Food Unit Plan Review. Please see Mobile Food Unit Plan Review for a complete list of all documents required to be submitted.  Please see Mobile Unit Guidance Document for details regarding mobile food units, trucks, trailers etc.

Temporary Food Vendors and Special Events

A Temporary Food Establishment (TFE) is a type of food establishment that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration, including carnivals, fairs, festivals, and other events.  These establishments are distinguished from other classes of food establishments such as mobile food establishments, caterers, and traditional restaurants. Those who already hold a Virginia Department of Health Food Establishment Permit DO NOT NEED TO APPLY FOR A TEMPORARY FOOD ESTABLISHMENT PERMIT.  A copy of your current food establishment permit will serve as your permit at the event and shall be posted at the event.  In addition, a copy of your permit should be submitted to the coordinator of the event and the Richmond City Health District.  Those without a valid VDH Food Establishment Permit must apply for a temporary permit.  Applications for a Temporary Food Establishment Permit MUST BE SUBMITTED AT LEAST 10 DAYS PRIOR TO THE EVENT. The Fee is $40 annually.

Certified Food Protection Manager
At least one employee with supervisory and management responsibility and the authority to direct and control food preparation and service shall be a certified food protection manager, demonstrating proficiency of required knowledge and information through passing a test that is part of an accredited program.

For more information on Certified Food Protection Manager 

Foodborne Illness and Food Complaints

The Richmond City Health District investigates suspected foodborne illness and food establishment complaints. Please contact our office directly at 804-205-3912 to make a complaint. If you wish to submit your complaint online, please use the online reporting system - My Meal Detective:

Comprehensive Guide for Food Establishments

This guidance includes disruptions in electrical and gas services, water supply contamination and interruption, sewage backups, and flooding. Since you may experience difficulties accessing the server, you may want to download the documents prior to the storm and/or print them as well.


Wholesale, home operations and packaging your products
Are you interested in selling your product to another business or restaurant?  Distributing to a retail store?  Making food in your home? Contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer services for more information.