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​​​Limited Food Establishments

The Department will allow some 'limited' types of food processing to occur in a 'residential style kitchen ' that may not meet the full regulatory code requirements, with the intent of the producer to offer these products for sale to the public.  These processors are regulated under The Food Safety Act (3 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 5721 - 5737).  Regulations under this Act include all federal regulations related to food, and can be found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR's).  CFR's can be accessed at  In some cases, businesses may additionally be regulated under PA Code Title 7, Chapter 46, Food Code (if products are retailed direct to consumers from the business).

The term 'limited food processor' or 'residential-style kitchen' will be used throughout this program to refer to a home-style kitchen, residential style kitchen or a personal use kitchen, regardless of the location - on or off an actual residential property.

Generally, the types of production that can occur in 'limited food establishments' (whether an actual home-use kitchen or a kitchen designed in a residential fashion) are limited to foods that are not 'time and temperature controlled for safety' (TCS) foods (i.e., potentially hazardous foods, 'PHF').  TCS foods are foods that will support the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and require temperature controls (kept hot or cold).  TCS foods can only be produced in a licensed / registered 'commercial' food establishment kitchen that meets the full regulatory code requirements, including separation from residential-use areas, and adequate plumbing fixtures.  This does not specifically prohibit processing of TCS foods from a residential property, but the foods could only be produced in a second 'commercial' processing kitchen separate from the private home kitchen or any residential personal use areas, and that meets the full regulatory standards for a food establishment.

Because only limited types of food may be prepared from the home or home - style kitchen and in some cases laboratory testing of the product must occur, it is necessary to closely evaluate these businesses.  It may additionally be necessary for those facilities wishing to sell their products interstate to register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  More detailed information on Limited Food Establishments is laid out in the Application Packet.

How to Apply

Limited Food Processors: Anyone wishing to prepare food from home or home style kitchen

Download and/or print, the Application Packet – Limited Food Establishment under FORMS on the right-hand side of this page.

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 completed application and requested documentation 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.
  • An inspector will schedule an on-site inspection of the facility
  • Upon a compliant inspection, your registration fee will be collected, and a Food Establishment Registration 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 – Renewal of licenses occurs annually with notification to proprietors approximately 45 days prior to the current expiration date.  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.


Limited Food Establishment Registration$35
Annual renewals$35
Make checks payable to "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania"