Food Program

Kentucky Food Code

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Central office develops statewide retail food program plans, objectives, policies and procedures and helps local health departments carry out the food protection program in Kentucky.

Certified evaluation officers trained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provide training, consultation and guidance to local health departments. Local health departments are authorized to carry out the food safety program in the counties and districts they serve. Every county or district has a certified retail food specialist and all food inspectors are registered sanitarians.

Home-Based Processing & Farmer’s Market Regulation

Kentucky law allows farmers to grow, harvest and process limited food products in their farm kitchens for sale at farmers markets, certified roadside stands and from the farm provided they grow the predominate agronomic ingredient.

Kentucky’s farmers market regulations were developed jointly by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Farm Bureau, local health departments and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. These regulations describe the registration and certification processes for home-based processors and microprocessors.

Once registered, home-based processors may process whole fruit and vegetables, mixed-greens, jams, jellies, sweet sorghum syrup, preserves, fruit butter, fruit pies, cakes, cookies and bread in their farm kitchens.

Certified home-based microprocessors that meet further requirements of the regulation may grow, harvest and process acid foods, formulated acid food products, acidified food products and low-acid canned foods.

For more information or to receive an application packet, please contact Mark Reed by phone at 502/564-7181, extension 3677 or by emailing

Temporary Food Operations

All temporary food vendors must have a permit to operate.

Foods may be prepared and served in conjunction with gatherings or events such as fairs and festivals. Food items and methods of preparation may be restricted during these temporary events. All temporary food vendors must have a permit from the local health department prior to commencing operations. These permits are valid, if the establishment complies with regulations, for up to 14 days at one location. For more information and applications, please contact your local county health department

Temporary Food Establishment Guidelines 

How to open a Catering Business

If you plan to open a Catering Business in Kentucky, there are a few items or steps required to help you get started. If you plan on moving into an existing building where a restaurant or grocery has recently closed, contact your local health department to find out if what you are proposing can be done in the existing structure without a lot of costly renovations. If you plan to move into a building that has never or not recently been a restaurant or grocery, or if you plan to build a new building, contact your local health department to see if what you’re proposing could be done in the structure.

Put your plans on paper, showing your kitchen layout, equipment and structural specifications, water and waste sources, plumbing additions and changes, and provide these plans to your local health department food safety specialist. There is a $25.00 plan submittal fee required with all plan submittals. Any plumbing plans submitted must be drawn up by a Master Plumber. The food safety specialist will review your plans along with the local plumbing inspector to see if your proposal meets all applicable laws and requirements. If there are any changes to be recommended, it is easier and less costly for you to make changes on paper than after construction. Once your plans are approved, you may begin construction of your restaurant or grocery.

You will need to apply for a permit to operate, providing pertinent information and paying applicable fees with your local health department.

When you are ready, request an opening inspection by the food safety specialist. The plumbing inspector will do the first inspection to make sure all plumbing changes and additions have been done by a licensed plumber and have been installed correctly. The food safety specialist will conduct your opening inspection. Once you pass your opening inspection you will receive your permit to operate. This permit will remain valid as long as your permit is renewed yearly and your establishment operates in conjunction with applicable food safety laws and regulations.

What is foodborne illness (disease, infection)?

Foodborne  illness (sometimes called  “foodborne  disease,” “foodborne  infection,” or “food  poisoning) is a common, costly-yet preventable-public health problem. Each year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Many different disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, can contaminate foods,  so there are many different foodborne infections. In addition, poisonous chemicals, or other harmful substances can cause foodborne diseases if they are present in food.

  • More than 250 different foodborne diseases have been described. Most of these diseases are infections, caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can be foodborne.
  • Other diseases are poisonings, caused by harmful toxins or chemicals that have contaminated the food, for example, poisonous mushrooms.
  • These different diseases have many different symptoms, so there is no one “syndrome” that is food borne illness. However, the microbe or toxin enters the body through the gastrointestinal tract, and often causes the first symptoms there, so nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea are common symptoms in many foodborne diseases.

Many microbes can spread in more than one way, so we cannot always know that a disease is foodborne. The distinction matters, because public health authorities need to know how a particular disease is spreading to take the appropriate steps to stop it.

For example, Escherichia co/i0157 : H7 infections can spread through contaminated food, contaminated drinking water, contaminated swimming water, and from toddler to toddler at a day care center. Depending on which means of spread caused a case, the measures to stop other cases from occurring could range from removing contaminated food from stores, chlorinating a swimming pool, or closing a child day care center. For more information please visit


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364 Oddville Avenue
Cynthiana, KY 41031
866-75-WEDCO (93326)

Clinic Fax: 859-234-0393

Business Hours:

Monday-Friday - 8:00am - 4:30pm

CLOSED for LUNCH 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Nicholas County Health Center

2320 Concrete Road
Carlisle, KY 40311
866-75-WEDCO (93326)
Clinic Fax: 859-289-2203

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Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - 8:00am - 4:30pm

CLOSED for LUNCH 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Scott County Health Center

300 East Washington Street
Georgetown, KY 40324
866-75-WEDCO (93326)
Clinic Fax: 502-863-3986

Business Hours:

Monday-Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm

CLOSED for LUNCH 12:00pm - 1:00pm