Information - New Hampshire
Starting or Growing a Food Business in New Hampshire
Planning a food business can seem like a daunting task. While the main focus of your business is developing your food product, you must also consider the many facets of owning a business such as capital, business and marketing plans, insurance, and applicable regulations. The following 4 step process will help you get started.
4 Steps for Starting a Food Business in New Hampshire
Step 1: Licensing Your Food Business
Your first step is to determine who has regulatory authority for your food product(s). If your business will be or is in one of the 16 self-inspecting cities or towns listed below, you will need to contact the Health Inspector for that town.
Click here for a list of New Hampshire’s 16 Self-Inspecting Cities and Towns.
NH Self-Inspecting Cities and Towns
All other locations in New Hampshire are regulated by the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Food Protection Unit, Food Sanitation Inspection and Licensing programs.
The Food Sanitation Inspection & Licensing Program http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/fp/sanitation/index.htm inspects food service establishments, grocery stores and retail food stores in NH.
Here is the contact information for Food Sanitation Inspection & Licensing:
||NH DHHS Division of Public Health Services
Food Sanitation Inspection & Licensing
29 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301-4604
NH Food Sanitation Inspection & Licensing Phone Numbers:
Main Number 603-271-4589
Toll Free Number 800-852-3345 x4589
TDD Number 800-735-2964
Fax Number 603-271-4859
After Hours Emergency 603-271-5300
The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food provides inspection services for several food products including apples, cider, eggs, potatoes, honey and maple products. The Division of Regulatory Services administers the Seal of Quality Program and is accredited by USDA to provide Organic Certification services in New Hampshire.
The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food is also responsible for animal health and welfare and the weighing and purchase of milk from the farm.
The Department’s website is: http://agriculture.nh.gov/
For a complete listing of Food Product laws and rules of the Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food, go to: http://agriculture.nh.gov/rules/index.htm
Step 2: Become Familiar with Local and/or State
The state regulations for food are found in a document called:
He-P-2300 The NH Rules for the Sanitary Production and Distribution of Food
You will find the entire document essential for planning and managing your food business. While the focus of the document is the safe production and serving of food, it also provides information related to licensing.
The sections listed below pertain specifically to food businesses:
Part He-P 2326 Mobile Food Units and Pushcarts
Part He-P 2327 Special Requirements for Bed and Breakfast Facilities
Part He-P 2328 Requirements for Level One Homesteads if Annual Sales are $5000 or Less
Part He-P 2329 Food Processing Authorities
Part He-P 2330 Special Requirements for Level Two Homesteads and Registration of Out-of-State Producers in Residential, Non-Commercial Kitchens
Part He-P 2331 Special Requirements for Food Service Establishments Processing Food in a Commercial Kitchen
If your food business is located in a self-inspecting jurisdiction, ask the health inspector how you can obtain a copy of applicable food and small business regulations.
New Hampshire allows home food manufacturing under certain rules. For more detailed information about the Homestead Rules, visit the NH Food Sanitation, Inspection and Licensing website at: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/fp/sanitation/homestead.htm
If you are planning to obtain a Homestead license be sure to review the Homestead rules at http://gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/he-p2300.html beginning with He-P 2310.
Step 3: Work with Your Health Officer/Food Inspector to Meet Regulatory Requirements
With your Food Inspector, you will:
Step 4: Make Sure You Meet All Other Local/State Requirements for Business Owners
- Review your food product, including recipe/formulation and processing method.
- Review plans/location for processing your food product (for example, home kitchen, commercial kitchen, co-packer).
- The Food Inspector will determine which location(s) your food product can be legally manufactured.
- Work with your Food Inspector to design and approve plans/renovations to home or commercial kitchen.
- Work with the Inspector to have her/him inspect your home or commercial kitchen before issuing your license. Make any modifications as specified by the Inspector.
- Get a process review for your food product(s) if required. (See Food Processing Authorities in He-P 2300 Section 2329).
- Complete the required paperwork, tests, or other requirements for the license application.
- Be sure to contact your Health Inspector before you add new products or if you change the formulation or processing method for your current product(s).
These resources will assist you with state business requirements.
For local regulations and requirements for businesses, contact your city or town office.
New Hampshire Food Business Resources [top of page]
The Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship is an excellent resource for technical information regarding your product and processing technique, including:
- Publications such as “Small Scale Food Entrepreneurship: A Technical Guide For Food Ventures”
- Workshops on topics related to small food businesses
- The Center is a recognized Food Processing Authority
Process Authorities [top of page]
Regulations require some food products be reviewed by a Food Processing Authority prior to licensing. For a complete list of Food Processing Authorities recognized by the NH Bureau of Food Protection, access He-P-2300 at: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/fp/sanitation/
See section He-P 2329.01 List of Food Processing Authorities.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plans [top of page]
New Hampshire regulations require some food businesses to develop and implement HACCP plans.
Dr. Catherine Violette
Food Safety and Sanitation [top of page]
Extension Professor and Extension Specialist, Food and Nutrition
129 Main St, 209 Kendall Hall
Durham, NH 03824
Food safety and sanitation is critical to your food business. UNH Cooperative Extension implements two food safety programs that provide important information about personal hygiene, time and temperature, and cross contamination. Please contact the Food Safety Educator in your county UNH Cooperative Extension Office listed below.
Alice Mullen – email@example.com, 603-679-5616
Alice covers southern NH including Rockingham, Hillsborough, and Cheshire County.
Ann Hamilton – firstname.lastname@example.org, 603-447-3834
Covers the eastern side of NH including Carroll County.
Deb Maes – email@example.com, 603-787-6944
Covers the western side of NH including Grafton County
Listings of Food Businesses in New Hampshire and Other Resources [top of page]
New Hampshire Specialty Food Products Directory
Hannah Grimes' mission to educate entrepreneurs is rooted in the vision that the success of these entrepreneurs results in a thriving local economy and vibrant community built upon our region's heritage, culture, natural resources, and the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. Hannah Grimes provides educational programs and one-on-one business coaching for entrepreneurs. Includes a retail store in Keene and a Center with office space for new businesses.�New Hampshire Business Resources [top of page]
Small Business Administration (SBA)
Financial Assistance [top of page]
New Hampshire District Office
JC Cleveland Federal Building
55 Pleasant St., Suite 3101
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 225-1400
Fax: (603) 225-1409
New Hampshire Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE) Offices
143 N. Main St., Room 202A
Phone: (603) 225-1400
Fax: (603) 225-1409
SCORE Southern NH
275 Chestnut St., Ground Floor
Manchester, NH 03101-
Phone: (603) 666-7561
Web site: www.score-manchester.org
Chamber of Commerce
151 Main Street
Nashua, NH 03060-2725
34 Mechanic Street
Keene, NH 03431-3421
Phone: (603) 352-0320
Web site: http://monadnockscore.org/
Mt. WashingtonValle SCORE
53 Technology Lane, Suite 101
Conway, NH 03818
Phone: (603) 447-4388
Fax: (603) 447-9947
Web site: http://score641.org
195 Commerce Way
Portsmouth, NH 03801-3251
Phone: (603) 433-0575
Web site: http://seacoast.score.org/
Lakes Region SCORE
2 Airport Rd.
Gilford, NH 03249
Web site: http://www.scorelakesregion.org/
Upper Valley SCORE
Citizens Bank Building
Lebanon, NH 03766
Web site: http://www.uppervalleyscore.org/
New Hampshire Small Business Development Center
Center for Family Business
University of New Hampshire
24 Rosemary Lane, Brook House
Durham, NH 03824-3593
Barbara Draper, Center Director
The purpose of the Center for Family Business is to offer services and information for entrepreneurial families.
These resources provide information and resources on financing your small business.