Food Processing is the handling or processing of any food in any manner of preparation for sale for human consumption. This includes dried fruits, herbs, teas, baked goods, cider, salad mixes and many other food products which are processed for sale or distribution and food that is custom processed for another party. It also includes repacking foods that are taken from one container in an unwrapped state and transferred or repackaged in another container.
Food Processor Licenses Expire June 30th
You need a Food Processor License if your process falls into the following categories:
- You cook, bake, freeze, slice, dehydrate, smoke, roast coffee beans, bottle water or repackage any type of food
- You process/package food for someone else
- You make shelf-stable, low acid canned food i.e.; canned vegetables, canned fish, retorted pouches (vegetable or fish), bread or cake in a jar and chocolate sauce
- You further process finished dairy products (i.e. cheese cutting, flavored dairy products, frozen ice cream desserts)
- You process dietary or nutritional supplements that do not make health claims
- You process food that contains no more than 2% cooked or 3% raw USDA meat ingredients by weight
- You process more than 1,000 poultry annually
- You are a licensed Food Service retail bakery inspected by a local health jurisdiction and sell more than 25% of your gross sales off-site
- You are a licensed Food Service Establishment (i.e. restaurant, caterer, grocery store, bar) and sell food products off-site - this includes internet sales
- You are a licensed Winery or Brewery that produces non-alcoholic products
License Issuance and Renewal
The Food Processor's License is non-transferable. If you sell your business, the new owners must apply for a new license. If you move to a new location, you must apply for a new license for the new facility location. Please notify your inspector or the Olympia office if you sell your business or move to a new location.
All licenses expire June 30th of each year, regardless of the date the original license was issued.
- You merely wash and trim a raw agricultural product and prepare or package for sale in their natural state (i.e. fruits and vegetables)
- You are licensed as a Food Service Establishment and 100% of your sales are on-site
- You process honey and are licensed under Chapter 69.28 RCW Washington State Honey Act
- You are an egg handler/dealer licensed under Chapter 69.25 RCW Washington Wholesome Eggs and Egg Products Act
- You are licensed under Chapter 16.49 RCW Custom Meat Slaughter Act and do NOT process wild game or poultry
- You handle shellfish and have a Certificate of Compliance under Chapter 69.30 RCW Sanitary Control of Shellfish Act
- You are licensed by the Liquor Control Board as a Winery and Brewery operation
Complete and send the Food Processor's Application and Attachments A, B, C, D, and E along with a check or money order to:
Department of Agriculture
Food Safety & Consumer Services
P.O Box 42591
Olympia, WA 98504-2591
When WSDA receives your completed application and license fee, a Food Safety Compliance Specialist (FSCS) will contact you and schedule a meeting with you to inspect your food processing facility.
Once the FSCS has contacted you to meet with you at the facility, the initial inspection normally takes one to two hours. The FSCS reviews all food handling and storage areas of your facility and inspects the product packaging and labeling. Before leaving the facility, the FSCS will leave a copy of the inspection report with you. The inspection report will note any areas that require correction. At that time, the inspector will also inform you of your licensing status (approved or denied). All subsequent inspections are unannounced visits and will occur based on the risk of your product.
Click here to learn more about facility requirements
Licensed Products and Amending Licenses
Licenses cover only those products, processes, and operations specified in the license application and approved for licensing by the FSCS. When a licensed processor wishes to add another type of food product that is different than the products specified on their license, the licensee must submit an Amendment Form [PDF 159 KB] to the Olympia Office stating the type of product along with the processing steps, and a copy of the label.
If you have questions about amending your license please contact our customer service staff at 360-902-1876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please review the regulations below before you complete your Application for a Food Processing Plant License:
- Washington Food Safety and Security Act Chapter 15.130 RCW, (formerly codified in Intrastate Commerce in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Chapter 69.04 RCW);
- Washington Food Processing Act Chapter 69.07 RCW;
- Current Good Manufacturing Practices in Manufacturing, Packing, Holding Human Food Title 21, CFR, Part 117, Chapter 1
- For more information on regulations, click here
For More Information
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WSDA Food / Feed Recalls
WSDA's Acidified Foods WSDA Industry Guidance [PDF 1 MB]
A Letter from The Assistant Director Regarding Marijuana Infused Foods [PDF 190 KB]