Food Services

Sacramento County is eager to help retail food facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, mini-markets, and mobile food vendors understand permitting requirements and remain competitive. Below is some helpful information for businesses interested in relocating to Sacramento County, moving to another location within the County, or considering an expansion or change in their current operations. If the facility or property in question is located within the city limits of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova, or Sacramento, you will need to contact the appropriate City offices of Planning, Building Inspection, and Business License to determine their specific requirements.


Operations and processes that occur at food facilities which are regulated by the Air District include bakeries and coffee roasting.
Click this link for more information: Air Quality.


​A Building Permit is required if you make any physical changes to your structure and for any change in use or change in occupancy of the structure. You must obtain a building permit before you build or alter a structure or any plumbing, mechanical, or electrical systems. Click this link for current Sacramento County Building Permit fees.


It is Important to contact the Sacramento County Planning and Community Development Department (often referred to as the Planning Department) before any of the other County departments to determine whether your parcel is properly zoned for the type of retail food business activity you are considering. It is recommended that you do this prior to signing a lease or property transfer agreement. If you move your ​​operation to a site that is not zoned for your activity, you may not be allowed to operate there. To determine whether the parcel is zoned for your type of business, contact the Planning Department at (916)-874-6221 or website. You will need the exact parcel number or physical address of the property to obtain the zoning designation.

A parcel number can be obtained from the Sacramento County Assessor's Office at (916)-874-5231 or website​.


You will need to obtain a permit from the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department, Environmental Health Division (EHD).


Before you sign a lease or property transfer agreement, you should determine ​​​whether your facility meets proper Fire Codes. Even if you meet all zoning and building requirements, significant structural changes (and costs!) could still be required to meet fire code requirements. Also, it may not be feasible to upgrade some buildings to meet Fire Code requirements.

​A Fire Permit is required if you make any physical changes to your structure and for any change in use or change in occupancy of the structure. The Fire Permit must be issued by the jurisdictional Fire District before Building Inspection will issue any permits. It is necessary to obtain your Fire Permit before you build or alter a structure, fire sprinkler system, fire alarm system, or install or relocate a spray booth. While you will interact with the Fire District several times throughout the permit process, contact with the Fire District early in the permit process can save you time and money.

​The following are the Fire Protection Districts located in Sacramento County and you may contact them to determine whether there are any fire and life safety issues with your project.


(916) 775-1210​


(916) 355-7250​

(916) 777-7776​


​Walnut Grove
(916) 776-1113​


​Delta (Rio Vista)​
(707) 374-2233​


(209) 745-1001​


(916) 264-5266​

(916) 687-6920​

Elk Grove​
(916) 685-9502​

(209) 748-2322​

Sacramento Metro​
(916) 566-4000​


​​The Business License Section of the Sacramento County Finance Department works to ensure that certain businesses operating in Sacramento County obtain and hold valid business licenses and, if required, special licenses. This Section also checks with the Planning and Community Development Department to confirm that your business activity is allowed in the land use zone you have selected. You can contact the Business License Section at (916) 874-6644. If your retail food business is located within an incorporated city, you must contact the city licensing department.


​The Sacramento County Department of Water Quality, Industrial Waste Section (IWS) helps to protect the water quality of nearby rivers by regulating discharges of industrial wastewater. To meet federal and state water quality standards and regulations, IWS regulates discharges of wastewater from local businesses to the sanitary sewer system. IWS activities include the issuance of permits to some types of industrial dischargers (also known as categorical dischargers), inspection of businesses, and sampling of wastewater discharges to verify permit compliance. They also help businesses identify ways to minimize industrial wastewater discharges, thereby reducing the concentration of pollutants and quantity of wastewater requiring treatment.

​In addition, certain businesses in the developed portions of Sacramento County and the Cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, and Sacramento must pay sewer impact fees before using the sewer system. Sewer impact fees pay for the added cost of treating the additional wastewater generated by a new or changing business and for expanding treatment capacity at the wastewater treatment plant. These fees are separate from a Wastewater Discharge Permit or monthly sewer service fees and can be substantial. If your business discharges any quantity of wastewater to the sanitary sewer, you will want to contact the Sanitation District at (916) 875-6470 to discuss sewer impact fees.


​The Department of Water Resources (DWR) administers the storm water program for the County of Sacramento. As mandated by federal and state law, this Department must develop and implement programs that reduce the introduction of pollutants into the storm water drainage system. Storm drains in the Sacramento area are not connected to the regional wastewater treatment plant (i.e., sewer) and flow directly into area creeks and rivers. For this reason, only rainwater may enter a storm drain. To prevent contamination of nearby water bodies, businesses may be required to have on-site storm water controls to eliminate contaminated storm water run-off from their site. At a retail food facility, outdoor cleaning activities that generate wastewater which flow to a storm drain are prohibited. In addition, certain types of businesses and construction projects may be required to obtain a state storm water permit.


​In response to increased concern for the environment, as well as State mandates that require at least 50% diversion of waste from landfills, the Sacramento County Department of Waste Management and Recycling (DWMR) has made changes to its waste management system. To meet their diversion goal, DWMR encourages all businesses to look into the feasibility of using waste materials in the formation of new products whenever possible and/or recycling the wastes they generate. DWMR has shifted from a system that relies on landfilling to one that emphasizes waste reduction, recycling, and composting.


​The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) regulates employee safety at the workplace. Cal-OSHA offers a consultation service designed to help employers understand and comply with worker health and safety requirements in California. It is our understanding that these services are free. Be aware that if a worker health and safety problem were discovered during the consultative process, Cal-OSHA would require that corrective action be taken by the business owner to correct the unsafe condition. In addition, Cal-OSHA may require a permit for certain air compressors or boilers. There are exemptions for small compressors and boilers of specific dimensions.


The focus of the Sacramento County Department of Economic Development is: marketing and attraction of businesses into Sacramento County; regulatory coordination for existing or potential Sacramento County businesses; business development and retention within Sacramento County; and employment development.

​Other agencies which may be of assistance or provide business incentive programs include: the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency; California Integrated Waste Management Board; City of Sacramento, Office of Economic Development; and/or Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization. In addition, there are other organizations that assist small businesses in the area.