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SF Health Network
Environmental Health

Retail Food Safety Program

The Retail Food Safety Program monitors compliance of local and state food safety regulations in restaurants, markets, and all other retail food operations.


Principal Activities and Services

  • Permit restaurants, markets, and all other retail food operations
  • Review construction plans to ensure that permitted food facilities comply with health codes
  • Inspect and monitor all retail food operations for compliance with health and safety regulations
  • Take enforcement actions, including suspension of permits, when needed, to protect health and safety
  • Permit and inspect temporary food events (e.g. street fairs, concerts, etc.) and farmers' markets
  • Investigate foodborne-illness complaints
  • Educate food facility operators on safe food handling practices
  • Provide food safety manager training and certification courses


How to Obtain a Permit

Food Facility Permit to Operate

All retail food operations- restaurants, bars, markets, farmers' markets, concession stands, mobile food units, licensed health care facilities, and temporary food events - must obtain a Permit to Operate from the Department of Public Health. Click on the appropriate link below for permitting information in regards to different types of food facilities.

Plan Check

For any new construction or remodeling of a food facility, the Department of Public Health must perform a review of the construction plans to ensure that the physical requirements set by the California Health and Safety Code are met. For more information on the plan check procedure and requirements, click here.


How to Make a Foodborne Illness Complaint

Call Environmental Health at (415) 252-3800 for: (1) foodborne illness complaints when three people or less are ill and/or (2) general complaints about food establishments. To learn more about foodborne illness investigations, click here.

Call Disease Control as soon as possible at (415) 554-2830 for foodborne illness complaints involving more than four (4) people.

Click here for other Environmental Health complaints, such as contaminated water and excessive noise.


Related Agencies

San Francisco Planning Department- A potential site for a new food establishment may require approval from the Planning Department.

Building Department - Should the site location require new construction or remodeling, a building permit will be required.

Fire Department - A fire safety inspection of a new business is required to ensure that reasonable fire safety standards exist.

Public Works - Permit is required for use of public walkways, alleys and streets for chairs and seating.