Food SERVICE PLAN REVIEWS & PERMITS

Restaurants, food stands, and other places that prepare food for sale to the public in North Carolina must be permitted by Jackson County Environmental Health. 

Food Service Facility

A food service facility is any business that prepares or serves food or regulates drinks or any any drink not sold in disposable containers.  Examples include restaurants, meat markets, etc. These facilities are are inspected one to four times a year, depending on menu items and food processes. Online health inspections are available soon after the inspection is completed.

Do I need to get a permit?

Yes.  If you are buying an existing facility and making no changes to the menu, floor plan, etc. (i.e. only a change in ownership), complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the first page of the Food Establishment Plan Review Application

  2. Submit the first page of the application to Jackson County Environmental Health

If you are building or remodeling a facility, you will need to get a Food Service Plan Review.  To do this, complete the following steps:

  1. If your facility has onsite well and septic, make sure they are approved first. To learn more about the onsite application process, click here.

  2. Review the Plan Review Checklist

  3. Complete the Food Establishment Plan Review Application

  4. Pay the plan review fee

  5. Put together a complete plan review packet which includes a completed floor plan indicating the location of food service equipment, the equipment listing with equipment specification sheets corresponding to the floor plan, the food service menu, and the site plan indicating the location of dumpsters, recycling, can wash, and grease storage

  6. Submit the completed plan review packet and fee to Jackson County Environmental Health

Note that the Food Service Plan Review process won’t begin until Jackson County Environmental Health receives the completed plan review packet and fee.  This process will take no longer than 30 days upon packet submittal.

Additional permitting and inspections may be required from Jackson County's Permitting and Code Enforcement Department and/or Planning Department.  Make sure to reach out to these departments prior to starting construction.

All chain or franchise facilities must have approval from NCDHHS, Division of Environmental Health, Facility Plan Review Unit (919-707-5854) prior to construction.


Food Trucks & Pushcarts

A mobile food unit or a food truck is a restaurant on wheels that is fully enclosed with floors, walls, and ceilings while a push cart is designed to prepare and serve hotdogs only and can be moved by one person. 

Do I need to get a permit?

That depends.  Units that only serve commercially packaged food are regulated by the NC Department of Agriculture and do not need to get a permit through Jackson County Environmental Health.  To learn about the NC Department of Agriculture regulations, call 919-733-7366 or click here

Units serving prepared food will be required to get a permit though Jackson County Environmental Health.  To apply for a permit, complete the following steps:

  1. Find a restaurant that has space for overnight storage of food, water supply, washing facilities, and wastewater disposal to designate as a commissary

  2. Complete the Plan Review Application for Food Establishments Operating From a Shared Use Kitchen Application

  3. Pay the plan review fee

  4. Submit completed application and fee to Jackson County Environmental Health

Additional Information

Mobile food units or food trucks are licensed/permitted by the city or county where the truck operates, with each jurisdiction having its own requirements and processes for permitting.  Parts of the inspection process are often performed by allied agencies and some jurisdiction requires propane system inspection and approval by the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Standards Division prior to issuing a license/permit.  For information on how vendors can request an inspection of their propane tank system, call 919-707-3231 or click here.


Temporary Food Establishments (TFEs)

A temporary food establishment (TFE) permit is required to sell food or drink at a special event.  This permit is issued in conjunction with a fair, carnival, circus, public exhibition, or other similar gathering that operates for a period of 21 days or less.

Do I need to get a permit?

That depends.  Vendors who sell only dipped ice cream, shaved ice, popcorn, candied apples, cotton candy, funnel cakes, doughnuts, peanuts, and commercially prepackaged chips and candy do not have to get a TFE permit from Jackson County Environmental Health.  However, vendors should contact the NC Department of Agriculture to determine if a permit is needed from them.  To contact the NC Department of Agriculture regulations, call 919-733-7366 or click here.

TFEs serving prepared food will be required to get a permit though Jackson County Environmental Health.  To apply for a permit, complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the Temporary Food Establishment Application

  2. Pay the TFE fee

  3. Submit completed application and fee to Jackson County Environmental Health at least 15 calendar days prior to the event

Additional Information


Limited Food Service Establishments

Limited food service establishments are typically school concession stands sponsored by PTAs and Booster Clubs.    Permits can only be issued to political subdivisions of the State, establishments operated by volunteers that prepare or serve food in conjunction with amateur athletic events, or for establishments operated by other charitable organizations.

Do I need a permit?

Yes.  To apply for a permit, complete the following steps: