Division of Environmental Health

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our Environmental Health Services office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.
703-246-2201 TTY 711
10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
Pieter A. Sheehan, REHS
Director, Division of Environmental Health

Health Permits for New Food Establishments

New food establishments or existing food establishments requiring renovation or construction (or a change of equipment) must get a Permit to Operate a Food Establishment from Fairfax County Health Department. The process to get a permit starts with a commercial plan review before construction begins.

STEP 1: Before Construction Begins

Whenever a food establishment is constructed or remodeled or whenever an existing structure is converted to use as a food establishment, plans and specifications for such construction, remodeling or conversion must be submitted prior to the start of such construction, remodeling or conversion. The owner will have the final responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the plans and specifications, as well as for subsequent construction and installation.

Note: Construction of the food establishment cannot begin until the Health Department has completed its commercial plan review process.

Follow these steps to start the process:

  1. Initiate a building permit application with Land Development Services or the Health Department.
  2. To apply for Food Establishment, Mobile Food Unit, and Change of Ownership Applications please go to the PLUS Citizen Portal page and complete the application. Training material are available to help you navigate the new PLUS portal. 
  3. Application fee: $80 

Questions? Call us at 703-246-2201.

STEP 2: Once Construction Is Completed

Contact the Health Department in person at 10777 Main Street, Suite 100, Fairfax, VA 22030 or call 703-246-2201 to schedule a pre-occupancy inspection. Please call at least 3 days before the day you would like the inspection to take place. The following requirements must be met for the pre-occupancy inspection:

  • Plumbing, mechanical and electrical final approvals must be available.
  • A food manager must be present with an accredited exam certificate.
  • Refrigerators must be set at 41°F or lower and freezers at 0°F or lower with working thermometers in each unit.
  • Facility must be clean with no construction material in kitchen and related areas.
  • No food or utensils are allowed in the establishment prior to the inspection by the Health Department.
  • A final menu must be provided.

Please note that all the steps listed above are required before an inspector can do the pre-occupancy Inspection. Learn what to expect during a food inspection.

STEP 3: Open for Business

Upon completing a successful pre-occupancy inspection, the Health Department will issue a permit to operate. Within 5 to 7 days, an official Food Establishment Permit will be mailed to the address on record.

Food establishments must:

  • Post the Food Establishment Permit in a location in the establishment where customers can easily see it.
  • Get a Non-Residential Use Permit from the Department of Planning and Development before opening for business.


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