Apply for Licensing

Retail operations that store, prepare or package food for consumers require a valid Retail Food Establishment License dated for the current year.  Retail Food Establishment license fees are based on the type and size of operation and are only valid for a calendar year.


The first step in opening a new food facility in Pueblo County is completing a Plan Review packet.  The plan review packet is a general outline of the food operation and its main requests include menu items, equipment specs and facility layout.  Failure to provide the required information may delay the plan review process.  A plan review packet requires a $100 review fee and usually takes 14 business days to complete.  Upon completion of plan review a pre-opening inspection of the facility and operations is conducted leading to the final step, licensing.  At the pre-opening inspection a Retail Food Establishment license form is completed, processed (with appropriate fee) and then operations can begin.  Contact the Food Safety Program about appropriate Retail Food Establishment license fees for the current year.  Plan Review packets can be picked up in person at Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedenss Division, 101 W. 9th Street, Pueblo, CO 81003 or by downloading from 'Related Files' to the right.

It is necessary to submit detailed plans and specifications of a proposed newly constructed retail food establishment and/or the affected areas of any proposed extensively remodeled retail food establishment.   Each retail food operator, or person intending to become a retail food operator, shall be responsible for submitting all plans and specifications. Those assisting an operator may submit plans and specifications on the operator's authority. The Food Safety Program shall be consulted before preparation of plans and specifications. Approval of both plans and specifications is necessary before construction begins. A minimum of two weeks shall be necessary for the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment to review the plans. Any revision of plans must be submitted to the Department for review and modification or approval.

*NOTE: Even if the Pueblo Regional Building Department has conducted a plan review and approved plans, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment must conduct a separate plan review using a separate set of blueprints and a completed plan review packet.



If food vending is to take place out of a mobile unit or at a temporary event (festivals, fairs, etc.), a separate plan review packet is required: Plan Review Packet for Mobile Units and Push Carts (see ‘Related Files’ section).  The mobile plan review is tailored for food production in a limited space and of a limited amount.  Physical facilities, equipment requirements and water availability are the main requirements of the packet.  A $100 plan review fee applies and the subsequent licensing fee will be determined by operations.  An inspection of the proposed mobile unit (all equipment working and present) must be completed before operations begin.

Most mobile unit/temporary event vendors will not be fully contained and it is likely that vendors must use a commissary.  A commissary is a commercial establishment that is a currently licensed Retail Food Establishment where mobile vendors can use facilities not available in the mobile unit such as:

  • Three compartment sink
  • Vegetable prep sinks
  • Ice machine
  • Larger refrigeration
  • Dry storage areas
  • Preparation tables
  • Water Supply

Commissaries are essential to mobile unit operations because they provide the missing equipment and space needed for proper food storage/preparation.  The mobile plan review includes a Commissary Agreement to be filled out and signed by the commissary owner.  Proper documentation of the use of the commissary by the vendor shall be kept and available to the Food Safety Program for review.

Event Coordinators:  If you are an event coordinator of a temporary event there is an additional packet required.  The Coordinator Packet is a plan for the location of the event, the event timeframe, the services provided (water supply, grey water disposal, restroom facilities) and a list of vendors.  The coordinator packet is the first step in planning a larger event with vendors and should be received before vendor applications.



For existing facilities that wish to formally change ownership (which is changing the legal owner, attaining a new Colorado Department of Revenue Sales Tax ID number and getting a new Retail Food Establishment license) a plan review packet for the new operations and a special inspection may be required.  Licenses from other establishments are non-transferable.  Normal plan reviews fees apply including a $75 special inspection fee for the Change of Ownership Inspection.



When a remodel of an existing facility is planned, it is subject to a new plan review.

Extensively remodeled is defined in Section 1-202 (39) of the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations, and includes:

a. Seating capacity, including service provided anywhere on the premises, is increased by a minimum of 15 seats or 20 percent whichever is greater in either a single construction project or an incremental series of construction activities;

b. Alterations or revisions involving retail food establishments or related equipment that require a building or construction permit by local building authorities.  Routine maintenance, repairs or cosmetic changes shall not be defined as extensive remodeling;

c. Changes or alterations made in the nonpublic areas that result in a reduction or increase of total space by 25 percent or more; or

d. The facility's capabilities to handle food, equipment, and utensils in a sanitary manner have been diminished due to a food process or significant menu change that introduces new risks for foodborne illness.