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Food and Lodging

The Food and Lodging Section is responsible for enforcing rules governing restaurants, food stands, mobile food units, meat markets, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and summer camps through permitting and inspections of these establishments. The aim is to reduce the risk of food-borne illness and other communicable diseases. The frequency of inspections varies for each establishment depending on the risk factors and how food is processed in the facility. Establishments can be inspected one to four times a year depending on this risk-based inspection category.

There are five major risk factors in prevention of a food-borne illness:

  1. Poor personal hygiene
  2. Inadequate cooking
  3. Improper food temperatures
  4. Cross contamination
  5. Food from unapproved sources

This section is responsible for Food, Lodging, and Institutions including:

  • Food Handling Establishments
  • Childhood Lead Investigations
  • Sanitation for Food Service Personnel Classes
  • Rest Home Inspections
  • Hospital Inspections

User fees are in effect for many of the services provided by the Environmental Health Division.

View a list of Environmental Health Fees.

Food Handling Establishments

Restaurant Sanitation Ratings

For more information about Restaurant Sanitation grades in Cumberland County, call 433-3618 or visit the Public Health Department (1235 Ramsey Street) during regular working hours.

Click here for the most recent updates to restaurant sanitation ratings.

Click here to report a restaurant sanitation concern.

Click here to complete our food safety survey.

Rules Governing Food Establishments

Foodservice Plan Review

Opening a New Restaurant - Buying an Existing Facility
When purchasing an existing facility, the new owner must obtain a food service permit, as the permit does not transfer with the sale of an establishment between people or locations. The new owner must obtain a food service permit from the Cumberland County Department of Environmental Services before operating. The new owner will need to apply for a Transitional Permit. If the new owner has changed the menu, kitchen layout or equipment, or if the facility has been closed for more than a year, a new food service plan review will be required. 

Building New Construction or Remodeling a Facility
Whether building a new facility or remodeling an existing one, Cumberland County Environmental Health staff will need to review all facility plans for approval prior to construction.

To obtain a Food Service permit, complete the following steps:

  1. Complete and submit the foodservice application.
  2. Submit a completed floor plan indicating the location of food service equipment.
  3. Submit equipment listing with equipment specification sheets correspond to floor plan.
  4. Submit the food service menu.
  5. Submit site plan indicating location of dumpsters, recycling, can wash, grease storage.

All plans must be fully approved by this office before a county or city building permit can be issued.

All chain or franchise facilities must have approval from NCDHHS, Division of Environmental Health, Facility Plan Review Unit (919-707-5854) prior to construction. 

Once all necessary information has been submitted, the Environmental Health preliminary plan review process will be complete within 30 days of application submittal.

Mobile Food Units

The Environmental Health program is responsible for issuing foodservice permits, conducting inspections, investigating foodborne illness and other complaints, and providing consultations for mobile food units operating in Cumberland County. Mobile food unit operations include food service businesses that operate from any vehicle that is self-propelled, or can be pulled or pushed down a sidewalk, street, highway or waterway, on which food is prepared, processed or converted, or which is used in selling and dispensing food to the end consumer.

Mobile food units must operate from an approved restaurant or *commissary. Mobile food units use a commissary to conduct any food preparation activities such as food washing, thawing, cooking, cooling, and reheating and utensil washing.


Food Commissaries provide support operations for mobile food unit operations. Cumberland County's Environmental Health Program permits and inspects these operations.  Commissaries must comply with restaurant licensing regulations to assure the safety of food products.

Defining a Mobile Food Unit

  • Any vehicle that is self-propelled or that can be pulled or push down a sidewalk, street, highway or waterway.
  • On which food is prepared, processed or converted, or which is used in selling and dispensing food to customers.
  • Must be capable of being mobile at all times during operation.
  • Wheels may not be removed from the unit at the operating location.

Most mobile food units require a Commissary for rapidly cooling foods, food washing, overnight storage and dishwashing facilities.

A pushcart is a mobile food unit that is designed to readily move and vend food.

All mobile food units must go through a plan review process prior to issuance of food service permit. 



Temporary Food Establishments

Festivals, Fairs, Carnivals and Events

All food vendors wishing to sell potentially hazardous foods at an event in Cumberland County must complete an application and return it to our office with the required fee at a minimum of 15 days prior to the date of operation. The event sponsor must also notify the department prior to the event and complete all necessary forms from this office. Forms must be submitted to this office at least 15 days prior to the event date.

Not all food vendors need a permit. Vendors who sell foods that are not considered potentially hazardous may not require a permit from this office to operate. Foods that do not require a permit include:

  • Popcorn or kettle corn
  • Candy
  • Pies, cakes, and cookies
  • Desserts or fried desserts
  • Ice cream
  • Snowballs
  • Funnel cakes or elephant ears
  • Candy apples
  • Ice and beverages such as coffee, teas, and lemonade
  • Whole raw fruits and vegetables

The above-listed foods may be regulated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. The NC Department of Agriculture can be contacted directly at (919) 733-7366.

View a list of the foods that require a permit versus those that do not.

Applications - Festival/Temporary

Examples - Festival/Temporary

More Information - Festival/Temporary

Links of Interest

Environmental Health Rules

NCDA Food Program: Starting a Home Based Food Business

School Building Application


      Food and Lodging is located in the Public Health Department at 1235 Ramsey Street, Suite 3300.

      • Contact Us

        Phone: 910-433-3618
        Department of Public Health:

        1235 Ramsey St
        Fayetteville, NC 28301

        Fax: 910-433-3793
        TTY Phone: 910-223-9386
        EH Director: Adrian Jones

        Contact Us

        Phone: 910-433-3618
        Fax: 910-433-3793
        TTY Phone: 910-223-9386
        EH Director: Adrian Jones
        Department of Public Health:

        1235 Ramsey St
        Fayetteville, NC 28301