Food & Beverage Licensing

Posted By: Environmental Health,

Food and Beverage Program

The Partnership4Health Environmental Services Section is responsible for delegated health and safety inspections for food & beverage establishments within Otter Tail County, Minnesota. In addition, we are the delegated authority for:

  • Issuing licenses for regulated establishments. These include:
    • Restaurants, Bars, Beverage Services
    • Mobile Food Units and Food Carts
    • Seasonal Permanent and Temporary Food Stands
    • Special Event Food Stands
  • Responding to complaints, nuisances and natural disasters
    Food safety complaints or concerns
    Fire, Floods and Disaster response
  • Performing health and safety investigations
    Responding to food borne outbreak or illness associated with regulated food establishments
  • Provide safe food and “best practices” education to operators
  • Developing and maintaining public awareness for continued food safety

License Requirement

Public food or beverage establishments within Otter Tail County are required to be licensed by the regulatory authority before operating. This process may require a plan review of the establishment along with a required on-site inspection and submission of the appropriate fees. Use the Food Beverage and Lodging Application to apply for or renew your license.

Note: New construction or remodel of existing establishments require a Plan Review Application by the Health Authority prior to licensing. The Minnesota Department of Health provides a Construction guide to help with the Plan Review process.

Food & Beverage Licensing

Limited Food Menu – prepackaged food that receives heat treatment and is served in the package, frozen pizza that is heated and served, continental breakfast, soft drinks, nonalcoholic beverages, dish washing.

Small Establishment – food service with no salad bar, equipment not exceeding: one deep fat fryer; one grill; two hot holding containers; microwaves, or service of dipped ice cream / soft serve frozen desserts, or breakfast service in a bed and breakfast, or boarding establishments. Establishments which do not provide catering service and which meet “Medium Establishment” equipment criteria below but have a total seating capacity of 50 or less people are “Small Establishments”.

Medium Establishment – food service with seating over 50 and using a range, oven, steam table, salad bar or salad preparation area, more than one deep fat fryer or grill, more than two holding containers or provides catering.

Large Establishment – food service that meets the medium establishment definition and seats more than 175 people, serves a full menu selection an average of five or more days per week or caters 500 or more meals per day.

Beer or Wine Table Service – only beer or wine service to customers seated at tables.

Alcohol Service From Bar – alcoholic mixed drinks are served or where beer or wine are served from a bar.

Individual Water – a private water supply other than a community public water supply.

Individual Sewer – a private sewage treatment system which uses subsurface treatment and disposal.

Lodging Per Unit – the number of guest rooms, cottages or other rental units of a hotel, motel, lodging establishment or resort, or the number of beds in a dormitory.

Public Swimming Pool – any swimming pool other than a private residential swimming pool.

Spa Pool – a public hot water pool intended for seated recreational use.

Due Date: All license fees are due PRIOR to December 31st of the year for which the application is made or within 30 days of the date of opening for seasonal or new establishment. License fee received after these dates are subject to a penalty fee.

Penalty Fee: additional charge added to the license fee when a person operates a business without first having made application and fee payment.

Notice: You must submit this application and pay all fees BEFORE you begin operations. (MN Statutes, section 157.16)


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