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Food Protection


SinkEach year, over 76 million Americans become ill as a result of the food they eat, causing an estimated 5,000 deaths. Food protection continues to be the major function of the Division. Environmental Health Specialists devote the majority of their

time to assuring that food service establishments in Manchester are operated in a safe and sanitary manner. This is accomplished through routine inspections, re-inspections, complaint investigations, food sampling and worker training in safe food handling. The Division uses a number of tools to gain compliance including education, enforcement, through citations or administrative hearings, and through incentives such as the Public Health Excellence Award for Food Safety. All of these are designed to encourage the food service operator to comply with all applicable regulations while operating a successful business.

General Information

A Health Department permit is required to operate a food establishment within the City of Manchester.

Requirements to obtain a permit include:

  • An Food Service Establishment Permit Application must be made on a form provided for this purpose at the Manchester Health Department.
  • The appropriate application fee must be paid at the time of application.
  • Effective January 1, 1990, an application for a class I, I-A, II or III-A except pre-packaged, food markets food establishment permit must show proof that at least one supervisory staff person in the establishment has attended a safe food handling seminar. A list of Accredited Food Safety Programs is maintained by the Health Department.
  • If the establishment is new, remodeled, or renovated, please view the Process to obtain a Food Service Establishment Permit for proper procedures.
  • A complete Application for Plan Review must be submitted to the Manchester Health Department
  • In order to ensure sufficient hot water is provided at all fixtures, new and existing establishments may use the Estimated Hot Water Demand Calculator.
  • When an application has been filled and the applicant believes that the establishment is in compliance with the NH Rules for the Sanitary Production and Distribution of Food (He-P2300) then a request for inspection of the establishment should be made to the Health Department. This should be done after receiving prior approval to open from the Building and Fire Departments. A Food Permit Sign-Off Form will be completed by all appropriate Departments indicating their pre-opening approval.
  • Upon inspection, the Health Department will determine if the establishment meets the requirements of the NH Rules for the Sanitary Production and Distribution of Food. If so, a permit will be issued providing that all other appropriate City agencies have approved the operation.
  • Permits are valid for a period of time not more that one year from the date of issue.




Additional permit requirements for mobile canteens

A route schedule indicating the time and location of stops must be provided at the time of application. The schedule must include the time of reporting to the commissary and the location of the commissary. If the commissary is owned by another individual, then a mobile food establishment commissary certificate must be submitted along with the Mobile Food Service Establishment Permit Application.

If a mobile food establishment does not utilize a commissary for the preparation of food, then the applicant for a mobile food establishment permit must submit a certificate from the supplier of the pre-packaged foods. This notice is included in the Mobile Food Establishment Permit Application listed above.

Additional permit requirements for temporary food establishments

Individuals interested in procuring a permit to operate a temporary food establishment (e.g. at an outdoor concert or festival/fair) are advised to apply at least two weeks prior to the event in order for the Health Department to have sufficient time to process a permit application.

At the time of application, the most recent inspection report of the commissary based on an inspection by an appropriate authority must be submitted by any food establishment which is not inspected by the Manchester Health Department.


Rules governing the inspection of food establishments, requirements for operation, permit fees, and suspension and revocation of permits are detailed in Chapter of the City of Manchester Code of Ordinances. The text of this ordinance follows below. Specific requirements are detailed in the NH Rules for the Sanitary Production and Distribution of Food (He-P2300) (effective as of December 31, 2010). A copy of these Rules is on file at the Manchester Health Department.

Note: The City of Manchester Health Department does not adopt all sections of the above referenced State Food Rules. Please see City Ordinance below for more details.

City Ordinance

Download the City of Manchester Ordinances relative to Chapter 117: Food Services Establishments

Food-Handler Certification

Effective January 1, 1990, any food establishment (Class I, II, III, or V) which prepares or serves ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods shall have in its employ at least one individual who has attended a food service sanitation seminar as a prerequisite for obtaining a Health Department permit to operate a food-establishment.

The Manchester Health Department provides this seminar free-of-charge at scheduled times. Applicants are advised to contact the Health Department for the date of the seminar.  The Health Department will accept documentation of satisfactory completion of a nationally recognized food protection course as fulfillment of this requirement.

Food Safety Training Schedule, Videos and Training Materials

ServSafe Training Classes

The NH Lodging and Restaurant Association

REGISTRATION: To register for a ServSafe class, recertification or retesting please contact NHLRA at (603) 228-9585 or info@nhlra.com. The certificate is valid for 5 years. The ServSafe® exam is nationally recognized, accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) - Conference of Food Protection (CFP). The material includes the latest state and federal requirements.

ServSafe class are also offered by the NH Cooperative Extension.

Public Health Education

Bacteria that cause foodborne illness like to crash potlucks and parties, and they don't usually leave their calling card until the party is over. Although you can't see, taste, or smell them, you can sure feel them when you get sick hours or days later! Follow the storage, sanitation, and cooking tips in this handout to keep these uninvited guests away from your next get-together. This Potluck Food Safety Guidelines Handout is designed for small groups (not serving foods for the public) like office, church or social gatherings.