Food Service

Food Service Permits and Inspections

Restaurants, food stands, and other places that prepare food for sale to the public in North Carolina must be permitted by the local health department. Permits are required for both new food service establishments and existing businesses that change ownership. Our environmental health specialists regularly inspect food service establishments as required by state and local law. Our goal for each inspection is to identify and correct any conditions that might lead to foodborne illnesses.

Rules, Resources, and Food Safety Information

Food Service Facilities

A food service establishment is any business that prepares or serves food (defined as “cooks, puts together, portions, sets out, or hands out food for human consumption”) or regulated drinks (beverages made from raw fruits or vegetables) or any drink not sold in disposable containers, including private clubs with ABC licenses.

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a food service permit, return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. For questions, contact Environmental Health Program Supervisor Patricia Hawkins at (828) 884-3139.

  • Complete application form
  • $250 plan review fee (check made payable to Transylvania County)
  • Finish schedule
  • Equipment details, including manufacturer’s spec sheets
  • A copy of the proposed menu
  • A complete set of plans, drawn to scale, showing the location of equipment, plumbing and electrical services, and mechanical ventilation
  • Site plan

To obtain a permit, establishments must be in compliance with the current state rules. If the proposed establishment is on a septic system, an existing onsite wastewater application is also required. It is advisable to get an existing septic system approved for the proposed use prior to starting the plan review process, as not all existing systems can accommodate a change of use.

(Additional permitting and inspections may be required from Transylvania County’s Building Permitting and Enforcement Department and the Planning and Community Development Department. If your establishment is located within the City of Brevard, permits are also required from their Planning and Zoning Department. More information about required fire safety equipment is available from the county Fire Marshal.)

Mobile Food Units (Food Trucks and Push Carts)

A mobile food unit or food truck is a restaurant on wheels: a fully-enclosed food service establishment that is vehicle-mounted and readily moved. It can serve a variety of foods and must meet standards such as having hot and cold running water, separate sinks for washing utensils and hands, and mechanical refrigeration (see the complete requirements below). A pushcart is a small, unenclosed mobile piece of equipment that is designed to serve items like hot dogs only. Both types of units must be permitted and must operate in conjunction with a permitted restaurant or commissary.

 

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a mobile food unit permit, return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. For questions, contact Environmental Health Program Supervisor Patricia Hawkins at (828) 884-3139.

Temporary Food Establishments at Festivals and Events

A temporary food establishment operates for no more than 21 days in one location and is affiliated with an event such as a carnival, festival, or public exhibition. The event organizer must notify us of the event and provide a list of all food vendors, and each food vendor must complete and submit a separate application to be permitted. Each vendor will be inspected by an environmental health supervisor before the event.

 

Vendors who only sell foods that are not potentially hazardous (such as cookies, popcorn, or lemonade) may not need a permit; all vendors should still submit an application with a complete list of menu items so we can determine if the booth is exempt. Non-profit vendors may claim an exemption from permitting for two consecutive days no more than once per month; they must submit documentation to our office showing their non-profit status.

Mobile food units and pushcarts that are already permitted by a health department are not required to obtain a temporary food establishment permit; a copy of their permit should be submitted instead.

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a temporary food establishment permit, the event organizer should return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. Applications must be received at least 15 days before the event. For questions, contact Environmental Health Program Supervisor Patricia Hawkins at (828) 884-3139.

LIMITED FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENTS

Limited food service permits are issued to political subdivisions of the State, establishments operated by volunteers that prepare or serve food in conjunction with amateur athletic events, or for establishments operated by other charitable organizations.

 

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a limited food service establishment permit, the event organizer should return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. Applications must be received at least 15 days before the event. For questions, contact Environmental Health Program Supervisor Patricia Hawkins at (828) 884-3139.

Lodging

Transylvania Public Health permits and inspects all establishments that offer lodging accommodations for pay, including hotels, motels, inns, and bed and breakfast inns and homes, to determine if they meet the requirements for safe and sanitary operation in accordance with state law. Hotels and motels are inspected at least once per year; bed and breakfast homes are inspected annually, and bed and breakfast inns are inspected at least once every six months.

 

(Lodging establishments that serve foods require a separate food service establishment permit, unless they only serve non-potentially hazardous foods (muffins, bagels, pastries, etc.) or prepackaged foods.)

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a lodging permit, return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. For questions, contact Environmental Health at (828) 884-3139.

  • Complete the application form – (PDF coming soon)
  • $250 permit fee (check made payable to Transylvania County)

Institutions

Transylvania Public Health conducts sanitation inspections of institutions such as child care centers, schools, camps, hospitals, nursing homes, adult care centers, and local confinement facilities, as required by state law.

Child Care Centers

Although child care centers are licensed by the Division of Child Development and Early Education, they are inspected for compliance with sanitation rules at least annually by our environmental health specialists as required by state law. Child care centers must submit plans to us for review prior to any construction, renovations, or other modifications.

Schools

We provide inspections for all public, private, and religious schools that operate in Transylvania County.  School buildings are inspected once a year. School kitchens are inspected four times per year and are held to the same standards as food service establishments.

Camps

A permit from Transylvania Public Health is required for all camps to operate in this county. Our environmental health specialists inspect these facilities to be sure they comply with regulations that ensure safe food, a sanitary sleeping environment, and control measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. We offer recommendations for handing immunization requirements for both staff and campers, preventing and treating animal bites and tick- and mosquito-borne infections, and proper cleaning of surfaces. For more information, contact Environmental Health at (828) 884-3139.

Resident camps (which provide food and overnight accommodations and are connected to public electrical power) are permitted annually and inspected twice a year; seasonal resident camps that operate six months or less are issued a permit that is valid for six months and must be inspected before the operating season begins. A score card must be posted at the camp.

Primitive camps (which provide food and overnight accommodations but are not connected to a public electrical power source) are permitted annually and inspected twice a year; seasonal primitive camps that operate six months or less are issued a permit that is valid for six months and must be inspected before the operating season begins. The owner or operator of a primitive camp must have successfully completed a food service sanitation program within the previous three years.

Summer camps (which do not provide overnight accommodations and operate only during the summer season when children do not attend school) may provide meals that are prepared on site or are received from a permitted food service establishment or licensed child care center. They must be inspected prior to beginning operation each year.

Hospitals, Nursing Homes, and Other Institutions

These institutions are licensed by other agencies, but state law requires that they are inspected for sanitation by the local health department.

Hospitals, nursing homes, adult care homes, and other institutions provide room and board for more than 13 residents and are licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services. They are inspected for compliance with sanitation regulations at least annually. A grade card for the facility must be posted at the facility entrance, and a separate grade card for food service inspection must be posted in the dining area.

Residential care facilities provide room and board for 12 or fewer residents and are licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services. They are inspected for compliance with sanitation regulations at least once every six months. A grade card must be posted at the facility.

Adult day facilities provide activities and meals but no overnight accommodations and are licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services. They are inspected for compliance with sanitation regulations at least annually. A grade card must be posted at the facility.

Local confinement facilities, such as city or county jails or detention facilities for adults or children, are licensed by the Division of Facility Services. They are inspected for compliance with sanitation regulations at least annually.

On-Site Wastewater (Septic Systems)

In order to protect public health, groundwater resources, and the environment, our environmental health specialists permit and inspect septic systems to ensure their proper placement, installation, maintenance, and operation, in accordance with state law.

New Construction

For new homes or businesses where no sewer system is available, both an Improvement Permit and an Authorization for Wastewater System Construction are required. (If the property is not served by public water, a well permit is also necessary.)

An Improvement Permit is issued for sites that have acceptable soil to support a septic system. Our environmental health specialist will conduct a comprehensive soil and site evaluation to determine if an adequate area exists with suitable soil and topography for a septic drainfield, and will issue or deny the permit based on the results of the site evaluation. This permit is valid for 5 years from the date it was issued and can be transferred to other owners within the time period as long as site conditions do not change. (Be cautious of claims that land will “perc” unless a valid Improvement Permit has been issued.)

An Authorization for Wastewater System Construction is the permit that allows for the construction of the septic system. It is required before a building permit can be issued and is valid for 5 years from the date it was issued. This permit is only valid for the original owner and designated use within the specified time frame, and does not transfer with the sale of the property. An environmental health specialist will inspect the septic system when it is installed to ensure proper installation.

We can also issue both the Improvement Permit and the Authorization for Construction in a single Combination Permit. Like the Authorization for Construction, the Combination Permit is issued to a single owner and cannot be transferred with the sale of the property. The property owner shall be the one who builds on the designated property within the valid period of the permit.

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a new septic permit, return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. If the site/facility is not ready as indicated by the applicant (property lines not marked, etc.), a site visit fee of $50 will be assessed. For questions, contact Environmental Health at (828) 884-3139.

Existing Septic Systems

An Existing System Inspection is required for mobile home setups, remodeling, additions, etc. If the number of bedrooms is not increasing and the building addition does not encroach on the septic system or well setbacks, you can apply for an Existing System Authorization. If the number of bedrooms is increasing or if the septic system needs to be relocated, you will likely need to apply for an Improvement Permit and Authorization for Construction.

SEPTIC SYSTEM REPAIR OR REPLACEMENT

Our environmental health specialists can evaluate malfunctioning septic systems and help determine an appropriate solution to repair the system. If you suspect problems with the system or experience problems such as wet areas in that area of your yard, slow draining plumbing, or a sewage odor, contact us at (828) 885-3139 so we can come inspect the system. There is no cost for repair permits, which may be applied for by the property owner or an authorized agent.

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for an existing septic system authorization (for home additions, garages, mobile home set up, etc.), return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. If the site/facility is not ready as indicated by the applicant (property lines not marked, etc.), a site visit fee of $50 will be assessed. For questions, contact Environmental Health at (828) 884-3139.

Private Drinking Water Wells

Transylvania Public Health permits, inspects, and tests private drinking water wells, including those that serve a single residence and transient non-community water supply wells that do not meet the definition of public water supply, as required by state law. We help locate a new well a safe distance from possible sources of contamination, observe the grouting of the well to prevent contamination, and obtain water samples to ensure that the well is producing safe, potable water.

New Drinking Water Wells

A permit is required before a private drinking water well is installed, repaired, replaced, abandoned, or destroyed. Wells must be drilled by a certified well contractor (see list of certified well contractors sorted by county). The permit fee includes water sampling after completion.

Irrigation or agricultural wells (not used for drinking water) do not require a permit from the local health department; more information about these types of wells may be obtained from the Division of Water Quality, Asheville Regional Office at (828) 296-4500.

RESOURCES FOR DRINKING WATER WELLS

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a new private drinking water well permit, return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. For questions, contact Environmental Health at (828) 884-3139.

Revisions to existing well permits due to site planning changes or other causes prior to construction require a fee of $235. If the site/facility is not ready as indicated by the applicant (property lines not marked, etc.), a site visit fee of $50 will be assessed.

Water Sampling

Transylvania Public Health provides a water sampling service with testing for organic (bacteriological) and inorganic (chemical) contaminants, nitrates and nitrites, pesticides, petroleum, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs/VOAs). Fees for each test are below. To request testing of your existing drinking water well, contact Environmental Health at (828) 884-3139.

As part of permitting a new drinking water well, testing is required for bacteriological, chemical, and nitrate and nitrite contaminants. The cost of these tests are included in the new well permit fee. All samples must be free of coliform bacteria before a certificate of completion will be issued.

WATER SAMPLING FEES

Organic (bacteriological)
$35 each
Inorganic
$35 each
Combined organic/inorganic (collected during one visit)
$60
Nitrates/nitrates
$60 each
Pesticides
$60 each
Petroleum
$60 each
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs/VOAs)
$60 each

Tattoo Parlors and Body Piercing

Tattoo Parlors

Tattoo artists are required by North Carolina law to obtain a permit from the local health department prior to tattooing. A permit is valid for one year from the date it was issued and is not transferable to another location (if an artist will operate in more than one location, a separate application must be submitted for each location).

Tattooing permits, which state the artist name, location for which the permit is valid, and the dates of issuance and expiration, must be posted at the entry to the business or at the entry to the artist room.

Inspections are conducted at least once per year of each tattooing facility premises, instruments, utensils, equipment, and procedures. Tattoo artists must follow sanitation and infection control procedures in order to be permitted. They must have a basic working knowledge of bloodborne infectious diseases and the ways to prevent them from spreading.

Please note: it is unlawful for anyone to tattoo a person under 18 years of age in North Carolina.

It is very dangerous to allow an unlicensed and unregulated person to perform a tattoo on you. If you would like to report a person tattooing without a valid permit in Transylvania County, please contact us at (828) 884-3139.

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a tattooing permit, return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. Applications must be received at least 30 days before the tattoo artist begins operating. For questions, contact Environmental Health at (828) 884-3139.

BODY PIERCING

Many states restrict body piercing to trained, licensed professionals. Although North Carolina does not require permitting or inspections of body piercers, it is important for people who are interested in receiving a body piercing to choose a safe, clean environment with a piercing technician who has appropriate training and sufficient experience to be hygienic and proficient. Learn more about finding a piercing professional.

Please note: It is unlawful for anyone to pierce any part of the body other than the ears of a person under 18 years of age in North Carolina without prior consent of a custodial parent or guardian.

SWIMMING POOLS

Any public pool, spa, or wading pool that serves more than one family must receive an annual permit to operate. These pools may be located at apartments, condominiums, community centers, duplexes, and health clubs. No public swimming pool may be opened for use unless the owner or operator has obtained an operation permit.

Seasonal pools (those that operate from April through October) are inspected at least once per year, prior to opening for the season. Year-round pools are inspected at least twice per year.

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a permit to operate a public swimming pool, spa/hot tub, or wading pool, return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. Applications must be received at least 15 days before the date the pool will be opened. For questions, contact Environmental Health Program Supervisor Patricia Hawkins at (828) 884-3139.

APPLY FOR A PERMIT

To apply for a permit to construct, install, remodel, or modify a public swimming pool, spa/hot tub, or wading pool, return the following items to the Environmental Health office on the first floor of the Community Services Building, located at 98 E. Morgan St. in downtown Brevard. Applications must be received and approved before construction begins. For questions, contact Environmental Health Program Supervisor Patricia Hawkins at (828) 884-3139.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH COMPLAINTS

To submit a complaint regarding any environmental health issue, contact the Environmental Health Program at 828.884.3139. These complaints will be investigated by an environmental health specialist for any violations.