DHEC issues these three types of food service permits*:
- Retail Food Establishment Permit
- $60 fee to receive permit inspection
- Annual inspection fee on a sliding scale, $60 - $270, depends on gross sales
- For all establishments classified as a Retail Food Service Establishment.
- Temporary Food Service Permit
- For food service connected with a fair, carnival, special promotion or similar event
- Operating at a fixed location
- For period of time not to exceed 14 consecutive days.
- Special Events Permit
- For mass gatherings such as community celebrations, festivals, special promotions, or similar events.
- Not to exceed three consecutive days
- See DHEC's Food Service at Special Events brochure (pdf).
How to Submit Your Permit Application
- Submit completed application along with the $60 application fee if applying for a Retail Food Establishment Permit to your Local Bureau of Environmental Health Services office.
- File your application with the South Carolina Business One Stop web site. This site allows you to file and pay at one time, use a credit card or pay from your checking account, manage multiple businesses and locations and to add other licenses (such as an Alcohol Beverage License).
*No Pre-Permit Food Preparation/Service Allowed
DHEC will not issue a permit for your retail food establishment until your facility is 100 percent compliant with all requirements of our state's food safety regulations.
This means you are not allowed to conduct pre-opening food preparation in your facility or a 'Friends and Family' type Grand Opening prior to issuance of your Retail Food Establishment permit from DHEC. If we learn that your facility has prepared food for customer service prior to issuance of a Retail Food Service Permit, you will be issued a notice of violation and will be subject to enforcement action.
Requests to have food products delivered to a facility or to allow cooking for the purpose of testing/training prior to issuance of permit are considered on a case-by-case basis. When we do allow testing/training cooking prior to issuance of a permit, all food products that you open and/or use for this purpose, including bulk foods, will have to be discarded prior to issuance of the permit.