Food permit common questions

We answer frequently asked questions about food permits.

Answers to common questions

What determines whether an establishment needs a catering license?

A catering license is needed if the food is:

  •  delivered and served on site to customers, OR
  •  delivered in reusable containers or with reusable utensils that will be returned to the caterer.

An operator owns a licensed food establishment and wants to cater food to a business facility or private wedding. What license is needed?

A caterer's license.

A church or school is having a pot luck dinner, bake sale, or dinner. Attendees will be limited to students and parents or to the congregation. Does this require a permit?

No. This is considered a private event because it is not open to the general public. As long as it is a closed group, City involvement is not required.

If signs are posted and the public is invited it is a public event. A permit is required.

What do I need to sell ice cream, popcorn, candy or pop from a truck?

Read the Limited Mobile Food Vendor Application, Guidelines and Checklist

Do I need a permit to sell or give away pre-packaged food at an event?

Yes. This includes beverages.

Can someone sell food or beverages from a private home?

No. Private homes are not zoned for commercial use nor are home-prepared foods allowed by the Minnesota Food Code.

What type of foods can be sold from a sidewalk or indoor food cart?

Please see applications and guidelines for:

Food Cart Vendor, Indoor

Food Cart Vendor, Sidewalk

Food Cart Vendor, Kiosk

Is a food license from the Minnesota Department of Health or the Minnesota Department of Agriculture accepted in Minneapolis? 

No. These licenses are not accepted in Minneapolis. The only vendors who do not need to obtain a Short Term Food Permit for an event in Minneapolis are:

  • Pour Only vendors, to be included as part of an Event Food Sponsor Permit
  • Licensed Minneapolis Mobile Food Vehicle (food truck) vendors
  • Licensed Minneapolis Limited Mobile Food vendors
  • Vendors with a Minneapolis Seasonal Food Permit
  • Cottage Food Law exempt vendors registered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture
    See Cottage Food Law exempt vendors  
  • Product of the Farm exempt vendors

Contact us

Health Department

Environmental Health




Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave S, Room 520
Minneapolis, MN 55415