Online Support for New England Food Entrepreneurs; New England Extension Food Safety Consortium

Starting a Food Business

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New England Extension Food Safety Consortium; Universities of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont

This website is funded by a grant from the NE Extension Consortium.

NE Extension Consortium provides equal program opportunities without regard to race, age, sex or preference, creed, or disability (2011).

Illustration of New Hampshire in New EnglandState Information - New Hampshire

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4 Steps for Starting a Food Business...
Process Authorities
Safety & Sanitation
Other Resources
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Financial Assistance

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 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

8-4:30 M-F
8-4:30 M-F
8-4:30 M-F
8-4:30 M-F
24 hours

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:

For a complete listing of Food Product laws and rules of the Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food, go to:

Step 2: Become Familiar with Local and/or State Food Regulations

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.

Homestead Rules

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:

If you are planning to obtain a Homestead license be sure to review the Homestead rules at beginning with He-P 2310.

Step 3: Work with Your Health Officer/Food Inspector to Meet Regulatory Requirements

With your Food Inspector, you will:

  • 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).
Step 4: Make Sure You Meet All Other Local/State Requirements for Business Owners

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]

Incubator Kitchens

Product Development

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
  • Newsletter
  • 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:

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
    Extension Professor and Extension Specialist, Food and Nutrition
    129 Main St, 209 Kendall Hall
    Durham, NH 03824
    Fax: 603-862-3758
Food Safety and Sanitation [top of page]

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 –, 603-679-5616
Alice covers southern NH including Rockingham, Hillsborough, and Cheshire County.

Ann Hamilton –, 603-447-3834
Covers the eastern side of NH including Carroll County.

Deb Maes –, 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

New Hampshire Business Resources [top of page]
Financial Assistance [top of page]

These resources provide information and resources on financing your small business.