Retail Food Licenses

Licensing Food Service Establishments

Lake County Public Health Agency's Environmental Health Program currently licenses about 70 food service establishments including restaurants, mobile food units, coffee shops, and grocery stores. The goal of the retail food program is to ensure safe food service in Lake County by:

  • Providing training and outreach
  • Conducting inspections to ensure safe food practices
  • Prevention of foodborne illness
  • Investigating complaints of foodborne illness

Did you know that the Lake County Public Health Agency's Environmental Health program conducts routine inspections of all retail food establishments and temporary food events in the county?

The Environmental Health program seeks to protect Lake County residents and visitors by reducing the potential or likelihood of public health risks and foodborne illnesses. The program monitors, educates, and regulates the retail food establishments, including schools and day care centers in the county.

Inspections are unannounced and focus on issues that may potentially cause foodborne illness including; proper food handling techniques, proper food temperatures, proper hand washing and hygienic practices, proper sanitizing and disinfection procedures, protection of the drinking water supply, proper labeling and storage of toxic substances as well as many other areas.

Check out this resource to help decide what type of operation you fall into - Cottage, Retail, or Wholesale (PDF)?

As of 2018 facilities are held to the Colorado Retail Food Codes Rules and Regulations. Access a PDF of the Colorado Food Code.

Read the 2021 Food Protection Act (PDF).

Steps to get a License for a New Retail Food Establishment in Lake County

Step 1: Determine if you're a fixed location or a mobile unit, and if you will be operating in a county we directly inspect and license, then submit the appropriate plan review packet to us and include the $100 plan review fee. Make check payable to Lake County Environmental Health or call 719-486-2413 to pay by credit card.

Fixed Location (PDF) (alternative Fixed Location link (PDF)) or a Mobile Unit (PDF) (Alternative Mobile Unit link (PDF)), do not send your application to the state. Please Submit all documents to Environmental Health via email or mail them to:
Lake County Public Health Agency
Environmental Health
P.O.Box 626
Leadville, CO 80461

A complete plan review packet includes the following information:

  • $100 plan review fee
  • Menu and food handling procedures
  • Facility floor plan and equipment layout
  • Equipment list by manufacturer and model number
  • Manufacturer's specification sheets for all equipment
  • Mechanical diagrams, including plumbing, lighting, electrical, and kitchen and restroom ventilation
  • Interior finish schedule. May include samples of materials, finishes and colors
  • Affidavit of Residency (only required if you're a sole proprietor or individual owner)
  • Food protection manager certification
  • Vomit/diarrheal clean up plan and employee illness policy

Step 2: Your plans will be reviewed within 14 business days of receipt. Submittal of incomplete or incorrect plans may delay final approval.

Step 3: When your plans are approved, we will send you a license application and your plan review approval letter.

Step 4: Get a Colorado Sales Tax License from the Department of Revenue. It's required for all retail food establishments.

Please note: Individuals operating under the Cottage Foods Act do not need a retail food license, however they must be very intentional about following the requirements. Cottage foods can only be sold direct to consumer and cannot be resold at a retail food establishment.

Please note: Individuals producing foods for re-sale at retail food establishments must register as a manufactured foods producer and become approved through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Registration information and existing approved businesses can be found at the CDPHE website.

Change of Ownership Process for an Existing Retail Food Establishment

Step 1: Fill out and submit a completed Change of Ownership Packet to Environmental Health via email or mail to:
Lake County Public Health Agency
Environmental Health
P.O.Box 626
Leadville, CO 80461

Step 2: Your packet will be reviewed within 14 business days of receipt. Submittal of incomplete or incorrect plans may delay final approval.

Step 3: Lake County will contact you with a license fee invoice and any additional requirements before approval. Change of ownership requires full payment for a license to operate for the remaining of the existing year, there is not a pro-rated fee, and the new owner will receive the license renewal for the upcoming year regardless of when change of ownership takes place.

Step 4: Prepare for a routine inspection of the establishment. Change of ownership prompts a retail food inspection within 30 days of operation under new ownership.