Food Service Inspections

In the City of Portland, there are over 800 establishments where food is sold or served. These include restaurants, coffee shops, school cafeterias, food trucks, push carts, gas stations, markets and grocery stores. Additionally, hundreds of Temporary Food Service licenses are taken out each year for fairs and festivals.

It is the mission of the Public Health Division to improve the health of individuals, families and the community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. This includes access to safe and healthy food. The Food Service Inspections program works with the food industry to provide a safe experience for customers. This collaboration occurs through the inspection process at least once a year and ongoing educational opportunities. Please contact 756-8365 with questions or concerns. If you are licensed by the Department of Conservation, Forestry and Agriculture (DACF), then please contact 287-3841

Maine Food Code

According to the 2013 Maine Food Code, every food establishment must have a Person in Charge (PIC) and at least one employee with a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) certification, who ensures all employees are trained on food safety. The PIC and CFPM may be the same person.

How to Start a Food Establishment in the City of Portland


1. Apply for a City Food Service license in the Business Licensing Office, third floor room 307 of City Hall. License applications can be downloaded below:


2. Apply for the required state food service license from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or the Maine Department of Conservation, Forestry and Agriculture (DACF). If onsite prepared food equals 51% or more of your sales, then you need a DHHS Municipal Eating License. If retail pre-packaged food equals 51% or more of your sales, then you need a DACF Retail Food License.

3. Check with Permitting-Inspections before any work commences about permitting (change of use, plumbing, electrical, etc.). Complete and submit permitting applications.

Please note: Plumbing and electrical applications must be taken out by a contractor. Commercial entities may not do this work themselves.

4. Secure your Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) Exam Registration. You must have at least one employee certified prior to opening.  (We cannot hold exams until things are back to normal.)

5. Complete all work and other inspections. When completed, if your business requires a DHHS license, call 756-8365 to arrange your opening Health inspection. Calling a couple of days in advance is adequate for scheduling an appointment. If your business requires a DACF license, then please contact 287-3841 to schedule your Health inspection.

Application Forms

The City of Portland offers the lowest cost CFPM class and exam in Maine. The class and exam is offered on a monthly basis at City Hall. Please use the form below to register.

State of Maine

If your DHHS license has not expired, then you can renew it on the Division of Environmental Health website.