Our Environmental Health Specialists at SWDH inspect food establishments to ensure good food safety practices. Many of the facilities SWDH inspects includes restaurants, schools, grocery stores, mobile food vendors, temporary event food booths food processing establishments.

We also investigate possible illnesses associated with all licensed food establishments. Please call our office to file a food establishment complaint – Contact: 208-455-5400.

Licensing Requirements

Application for license is to be made at least 30 days before the planned opening of a new establishment or a change of ownership. New construction or extensive remodels prior to opening may require more than 30 days for a plan review process.

Licensing Fees

The Idaho State Legislature recently approved new fees for temporary food operations.  These changes are effective immediately for all temporary food both requiring a license.  Please see the Licensing Fees chart below. 
If you have questions or comments, please contact our office at 208.455.5400


Food Program Licensing & Service FeesFee
*Food License - Temporary - 1 Day Event
*Food License - Temporary - 2 Day Event/3 Day Event
*Food License - Temporary - 4 or More Day Event/Multiple Events
**Food License - Intermittent
Annual Food License - Mobile Without Commissary$80
Annual Food License - Mobile With Commissary
Annual Food License - Multiple Mobile With Commissary$100/per unit
Annual Food License - Establishment With (1) Location$200
Annual Food License - Establishment With More Than Two Licenses (grocery stores) License$250
Plan Review Fee For Food Establishment$100
Late Fee, from January 1st through January 15th$35 Monthly
Late Fee, after January 16th$70 Monthly
Request for Variance$50 Hourly
Compliance Conference$100 Hourly
License Reinstate Fee$18
Enforcement & Legal Fees$150 Hourly Plus Legal Fees
Click Here for details regarding what has changed for 2022.


*Temporary Food Establishment – A food establishment that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days with a single event or celebration.

**Intermittent Food Establishment – A food vendor that operates for a period of time, not to exceed three days per week, at a single specific location in conjunction with recurring event and that offers temperature control for safety foods.

New Construction/Extensive Remodel Requirements

Southwest District Health (SWDH) requires food establishments to receive approval of plans and specifications prior to obtaining a food license. The following establishments will be required to submit plans and specifications for approval prior to starting operations:

  • New food establishment
  • Extensive remodeling of establishment, or an
  • Establishment that is changing food operations (fast food to full service).
  • One full set of plans and specifications must be submitted to SWDH.
  • The plans may be prepared by an engineer, architect, draftsman, contractor or business owner.
  • Plans must be large enough to be reviewed without enlargement or the use of optical devices.
  • The plans must be drawn in ink or print and must include: the intended menu, all food related equipment, hand sinks, mop sinks, restrooms, floor, wall, and ceiling construction and finish schedule in the food preparation, dish wash, dry storage, restrooms, outdoor walking, and driving areas, and outdoor storage areas for refuse.
  • Plans that are incomplete or have a multitude of changes will require revisions before being approved.
  • The anticipated volume of food to be stored, prepared, and sold or served must be addressed, and a copy of the proposed menu.

Remodel Plans

  • Remodel plans must identify all proposed changes to existing structures, spaces, and food equipment.

Mobile food units that can establish that they were licensed by another Idaho Health District and show the menu is not changing may be exempt since the establishment had prior approval. Contact SWDH to verify no plan review is required for a previously owned mobile unit.

Food Establishment Plan Review Application

The following documents may be used to assist with the planning of your establishment:

  • Plan Review Approval Form
  • Plan Approval Form for Mobile Foods

Food Establishment License Application

Submit completed application in person, or fax to:

Southwest District Health
13307 Miami Lane
Caldwell, Idaho 83607
Attn: Environmental Health and Epidemiology
Fax: 208.455.5405

Mobile Units and Push Carts that cannot function solely on their own must have a base of operation or commissary to operate. Mobile Units and Pushcarts must report to a commissary at least once each operating day for cleaning and servicing operations.

If your mobile food operation requires a commissary please fill out the application below:

Commissary Agreement

Temporary/Intermittent Food Establishments

It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED all temporary/intermittent food vendors watch the video below.

Two different Temporary Food Licenses may be purchased from our office, below is a description of each type:

Temporary Food Establishment: A food establishment that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration.

Intermittent Food Establishment: A food vendor that operates for a period of time, not to exceed three days per week, at a single specific location in conjunction with a recurring event, and that offers temperature control.

To determine which license works best please contact our office at 208 455-5400.

Applications may not be approved if submitted less than 7 days before the planned event.

One fee will cover the temporary or intermittent food license for a calendar year if:

  • The same menu is served for each event
  • Proof that a license has been paid for at another district (copy of receipt or permit)
  • Proof that the same menu is being served at the planned event

Fraternal, benevolent and not for profit organizations may be exempt from licensure if providing food for one day at any event or celebration during the calendar week.

A low risk food assessment for is available for operators to provide to the event coordinator if needed

  • Low Risk Food Assessment Form.

Cottage Foods

A cottage food operation is a person or business preparing or producing cottage food products in the home kitchen of that person’s primary residence, or other designated kitchen or location. Cottage food products are foods that are not sensitive to time and temperature controls. These products may only be sold directly to an end user. This means that these products may not be sold by a third party. Possible locations that these items may be sold are farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and the internet. Cottage foods include but are not limited to:

Some baked goodsDry herb
Fruit jams and jelliesDry seasoning and mixtures
Fruit piesCereals
BreadsTrail mixes and granola
CookiesPopcorn and popcorn balls
Candies and confectionsCotton candy
Dried fruits
If sold directly to a customer these items do not require a food license to prepare, but many venues do require that Southwest District Health be contacted to determine if a license is required Environmental Health Services will accept completed forms that are hand delivered to 13307 Miami Lane, Caldwell, ID 83607, faxed to 208-455-5405, or mailed to our Caldwell Location. Please remember to submit a copy or rendition of your products label with the completed Assessment Form.

Cottage food form  may be printed from here: Cottage Food Low Risk Assessment Form

Additional resources may be printed from here: Cottage Foods Fact Sheet Cottage Foods Frequently Asked Questions

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) will maintain applicable and updated information related to cottage foods. This information may be reviewed at  IDHW may add to or delete food products from the list above. Notice of changes, and the nature of the changes will be posted on the Food Protection Program’s website.

For other approved food safety training please visit the Food Protection Page for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare:


Helpful Links –  Food Safety Links


Juice Processing


Oral Culture Food safety information – Different languages


Food Safety for the Home