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Frozen Dessert

All frozen dessert manufacturers, including retail manufacturers, and distributors located within the commonwealth and out-of-state manufacturers selling frozen desserts within Pennsylvania shall apply for a frozen dessert license.  Wholesale manufacturers of frozen desserts shall also comply with Title 7, Chapter 59 (relating to milk sanitation).

A frozen dessert is defined as: ice cream, frozen custard, french ice cream, french custard ice cream, frozen dietary dairy dessert, frozen yogurt, dietary frozen dessert or low-fat frozen dairy dessert, ice milk, freezer-made milk shakes, fruit sherbet, water ices, quiescently frozen confections, quiescently frozen dairy confections, whipped cream confections, bisque tortoni, mellorine frozen desserts, and products which are similar in appearance, odor or taste to the products, or are prepared or frozen as such products are customarily prepared or frozen, whether made with dairy or nondairy products.

The term does not include commonly known or designated bakery products, such as frozen cakes and pastries, cream pies and fillings and toppings, meringue pie fillings and toppings, cream and ice box pies, fruit and custard pie fillings, Boston cream pie fillings, cream puff fillings and custards, eclair and Napoleon fillings, and custards or similar products.

Frozen Dessert Testing

Frozen Dessert product testing is conducted, with samples obtained and tested by an approved sampler and laboratory.  For a listing of approved laboratories visit the Laboratory Division page.

Testing is conducted each barrel of each machine, or each batch produced, for Standard Plate Count and Coliform once a week until three samples are analyzed, followed by monthly testing, as applicable.  Currently licensed frozen dessert operations need only test monthly.  Copies of all test results will be sent from your laboratory to the department for review; however the facility shall keep a copy of 12 months worth of testing results at the facility for review by the department.  Frozen yogurt and any cultured product need only test for Coliform.  Manufactured and wholesaled product shall follow the testing protocols required in Title 7, Chapter 59, Milk Sanitation.

Test Standards

Standard Plate Count, or SPC, shall not exceed 50,000/gm (cultured product is exempt)

Coliform Group Count shall not exceed 10/gm except in product to which fruit, nuts or bulky flavor is added after pasteurization when the count may not exceed 20/gm

How to Apply

Establishments within the Commonwealth

Download and/or print the 'Application Packet- Frozen Dessert Licensing'.  

All material must be submitted at least 60 days prior to operating. Failure to provide all required information can delay and/or deny your plan review. Email is the preferred method of plan review submission.

Submit via email to:

or mail / fax to:

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services

Attn: Plan Review

2301 N. Cameron St, Room 112

Harrisburg, PA 17110

Fax: 717-787-1873

  • Do not send money with this application
  • Allow 4-6 weeks for processing  

If Approved:

  • You will receive an approval letter via email or mail
  • An inspector will schedule an on-site inspection of the facility
  • Upon a compliant inspection, your license fee will be collected, and a Frozen Dessert License issued

If not Approved:

  • You will be sent a letter describing why the plans were not approved.  Applicants are encouraged to re-submit the plans again with the corrected or requested information.

If inspection is not passed:

  • You will be provided with an inspection report stating your deficiencies.  When deficiencies are corrected, you can contact your inspector to request another inspection.

Renewal of Licenses – All frozen dessert licenses are valid for a calendar year and expire on December 31.  Renewal application for a frozen dessert license will occur annually in late October or early November. Renewals can also be processed online with a user account and unique business code. You can look up your facility's business ID code on the public facility search page to proceed with online renewal. 

Lost/Duplicate License – Contact the department at 717-787-4315.


NEW frozen dessert license$35
Annual renewal$35
Change of ownership$35
Make checks payable to "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania"

Establishments outside the Commonwealth

Establishments located outside, but selling within the Commonwealth - shall submit both an 'Application Packet - Frozen Dessert License' and 'Application to Sell Milk or Milk Products', a copy of the most recent state regulatory inspection, and a $35 check or money order made payable to the "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." Submit completed applications and payment to:

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408