Last updated: February 18, 2020
A food service facility is defined as a place where food or drink is prepared for sale or service on the premises or elsewhere, or it is an operation where food is served to or provided for the public with or without charge. Food service facilities and food handling operations must comply with the State of Maryland regulations, COMAR 10.15.03. Before a food service facility may be constructed, remodeled or altered, properly prepared plans must be submitted to the Anne Arundel County Department of Health for review and approval. The plans must contain specific information to determine compliance with State regulations.
STEP 1: Prepare the food service facility plans and gather information identified in the Supplemental Information Guide.
Newly constructed, remodeled or altered food service facilities must prepare plans to scale based on a comprehensive list of information contained in the Structural Plan Review Checklist. Information requested in the Supplemental Information Guide must be provided to determine compliance with COMAR 10.15.03 Food Service Facilities.
STEP 2: Submit a completed building permit application and submit written response(s) to the Supplemental Information Guide.
Newly constructed, remodeled or altered food service facilities must submit a building permit application and written responses to the Supplemental Information Guide, seven sets of the food service facility plans and appropriate fees to the Anne Arundel County Permit Center or the City of Annapolis at the locations indicated in the Structural Plan Review Requirements for Food Service Facilities. The Department of Health will be identified as a reviewing agency for a building permit application involving a food service facility. One set of plans will be provided to the Department of Health for review.
STEP 3: Plan Review
To determine compliance with COMAR 10.15.03, the Department of Health will undertake a review of the plans within 10 business days of submission of the building permit application,. A comment letter will be prepared if the plans do not comply with COMAR 10.15.03 or do not include all items requested from the Structural Plan Review Checklist. The comment letter will be mailed to the owner and applicant identified on the building permit application.
STEP 4: Respond to comment letter and submit revised plans.
To ensure efficient review, the applicant or owner of the food service facility must respond to the comment letter with a signed response letter that adequately addresses each item separately and specifically states how compliance with State regulations will be achieved. The response letter must include any and all information required to complete the plan review for the project. This includes, but is not limited to, the submittal of additional plans, equipment information, or statements to indicate that certain requirements of COMAR 10.15.03 will be met while the food service facility is undergoing construction and before the facility is approved to open and operate. The response to the comment letter must be submitted to the Department of Health before final approval can be issued for the building permit application.
Revisions to building, plumbing or HVAC plan, signed response letters and equipment information must be submitted to the Permit Center.
STEP 5: Approval of the Building Permit
If the comment letter’s items are adequately addressed, the Department of Health will issue approval as a reviewing agency of the building permit application. Any change to the approved plan while the food service facility is undergoing construction requires prior approval from the Department of Health. If the items from the comment letter are not adequately addressed, additional comment letters will be prepared and sent. In this case, the building permit application will remain under review by the Department of Health until all items are sufficiently addressed.
STEP 6: Schedule a HACCP plan review and apply for the Food Service Facility License.
The applicant or owner of the food service facility is responsible for scheduling a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan review with the Department of Health at least 30 days prior to opening. The Department of Health will evaluate the food processes to document the receiving, storing, thawing and preparing of food, and the critical control points of the food service facility operation. The HACCP plan review also includes a food safety training course of approximately 1-2 hours.
The applicant or owner of the food service facility is responsible for applying for the Food Service Facility License prior to scheduling the pre-opening inspection. The Food Service Facility application may be downloaded and submitted to the Department of Health with the appropriate license fees. More information on the application and licensing requirements of food service facilities can be found here.
STEP 7: Schedule the pre-opening inspection.
The purpose of the pre-opening inspection is to ensure the food service facility was constructed in accordance with the approved plans and meets the requirements of COMAR 10.15.03. The applicant or owner of the food service facility is responsible for scheduling the pre-opening inspection at least two weeks prior to the projected opening date. Sufficient time should be given for re-inspection purposes to ensure the facility meets the scheduled opening date. The applicant or owner is responsible for ensuring that all items from the Pre-Opening Checklist and the response to the comment letter are met prior to the pre-opening inspection.
For more information, contact:
Structural Plan Review Unit
Housing Protection Services
Anne Arundel County Department of Health
3 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401