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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 license has a $35 annual fee.  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 via the U.S. Postal Service in late October or early November.

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.

For more information about the requirements for Specific Standardized Frozen Desserts, please visit the FDA website.

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 - shall submit an 'Application Packet - Frozen Dessert Licensing' to the appropriate PA Department of Agriculture Regional Office.  Do not submit a licensing fee at this time. A fee of $35 will be collected for your license at the time of the on-site inspection.  If the Frozen Dessert facility is a Retail facility and selling products other then simple frozen dessert ice-cream, such as floats, smoothies, drinks, soft pretzels, etc., then do not fill out this application, but rather go to the 'Retail Food Facilities and Restaurants' page and fill out the 'Application Packet - Retail Food Facilities and Restaurants' found in the forms section.

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

Forward to:

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408
  • Applicants must submit an Application to the Department as soon as possible.  There is no money required for the application for Commonwealth facilities.
  • The Application will be reviewed by a food sanitarian for accuracy and compliance with the appropriate Laws and Regulations.
  • If the Application is approved, the applicant will be contacted by the appropriate Regional Food Sanitarian to schedule an on-site inspection of the facility.
  • If the Application is disapproved the applicant will be sent a letter that describes why the application was disapproved.  Applicants are encouraged to re-submit the application again with the corrected or requested information.
  • At your on-site inspection, a food sanitarian will conduct a thorough inspection of your facility and its compliance with the appropriate Laws and Regulations.
  • Should your facility pass this inspection a license fee will be collected.  Check or money orders only made payable to "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania".
  • If your facility does not pass the inspection, you will be provided with an inspection report stating your deficiencies.  When deficiencies are corrected you can contact your food sanitarian to request another inspection.