Hours and Location (Inspection Services)
251 North Bayou St.
P.O. Box 2867
Mobile, Alabama 36652-2867
Hours of Operation: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Inspection Services Department is located in Building 6 within the gated compound of the main Health Department. The Food Handler classes are located in the same building.
Body Art and Body Piercing Program
The Inspection Services Department is responsible for inspecting all body art and body piercing facilities (except those that offer ear piercing only).
Each facility must:
- obtain a Body Art Permit through the Health Department annually
- operator of the facility must apply for an Operator’s Permit every two years
Inspections are based on compliance and non-compliance standards. Items found in non-compliance must be corrected immediately. For more information concerning the Body Art and Body Piercing Program, please visit the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website.
CHILD DAY CARE CENTERS
Child Day Care Centers
These rules are promulgated to provide definitions; to set local standards for child daycare centers. These rules shall be interpreted/applied to promote, improve, protect the health of Mobile County and eliminate conditions prejudicial to health or likely to become so.
The Mobile County Board of Health is authorized to adopt and promulgate these rules under and by the virtue of the authority of Sections 22-3-2 (1) (4), 22-3-5 and 22-10-1 (4) Code of Alabama, 1975.
Inspections Services Complaints
Note: The complainant must provide his/her name, address and telephone number if submitting a complaint by email or over the telephone. Any information submitted through the complaint program is considered public information and any interested party may obtain a copy of the complaint through the Freedom of Information Act.
COTTAGE FOOD PRODUCTION
Cottage Food Production Operations
The Alabama Cottage Food Law went into effect in June of 2014 and provides guidance, information and requirements for Cottage Food entrepreneurs wanting to prepare foods for sale from their private-home kitchens without benefit of inspection from the Health Department. The Law was updated in 2021 and states that individuals can produce certain non-potentially hazardous foods that do not require time or temperature control for safety to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation and do not use meat, poultry or fish. Cottage Law Foods include: cakes, bread, pastries, pies, jam, jellies and fruit preserves, dried and dehydrated herbs or herb mixes, dried or dehydrated vegetables or fruits, roasted coffee, candy, dried baking mixes and some fermented or preserved vegetables and fruits.
Cottage Law Foods may not be sold to restaurants, novelty shops, grocery stores or other second or third party retailers for commercial use or resale. A Cottage Food Producer may not sell their products from an establishment, including a mobile food unit, that otherwise requires a permit from the Health Department to operate.
An approved Cottage Food Producer may sell from a venue, mobile unit, tent, booth or store front that does not require a permit from the Health Department as long as the products being sold are being made in the Cottage Food Producer’s home kitchen and are sold directly to the consumer.
Anyone wanting to produce foods under the Cottage Food Law in Mobile County must present their required Food Safety Course Certificate and Product Labels to MCHD Inspection Service for review and approval. Upon expiration of their Food Safety Course Certificate, a Cottage Food Producer must make re-application for review of their current updated course certificate and labels. Please contact Inspection Service at 251-690-8116 for further details.
Food Handler, Food and Beverage Courses
Any food establishment employee that serves or prepares unpackaged foods or whose job duties require being in food preparation, service, storage or ware washing areas is required to obtain a food handler card every year from the Mobile County Health Department.
Food Handler training is available 24/7 at MCHD Online Food Handler Training Class. Beverage classes are not offered online at this time.
The Food and Beverage Handler Card is valid for one year from the date of issue and renewals are required annually. The Beverage Handler Card will only be valid when signed by the person identified on the card. The card must be signed and kept on the person to whom it is issued, at all times. The person in charge must keep a copy of each employee’s card on the premises.
Anyone possessing a valid Food Handler Card who wishes to upgrade to the Beverage Handler Card before their Food Handler Card expires may do so by attending only the Beverage Handler portion of the class and paying a $7 fee. The Food and Beverage Card will expire on the original date of expiration for the Food Handler Card.
The Food and Beverage Handler Card does not take the place of the Responsible Vendor program offered by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
For questions on further information, please call 251.690.8149.
Inspection Services Department Service Fees
ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE AND NON-TRANSFERRABLE
- Food Service
- Up to 1,000 sq. ft.: $300
- Over 1,000 sq. ft.: $450
- Multiplex: $1,000
- Less than 75 rooms – No food prep: $200
- More than 75 rooms – No food prep: $300
- Less than 75 rooms – With food prep: $300
- More than 75 rooms – With food prep: $400
- Daycare Center
- With kitchen – less than 1,000 sq. ft.: $150
- With kitchen – more than 1,000 sq. ft.: $200
- No kitchen – less than 1,000 sq. ft: $100
- No kitchen – more than 1,000 sq. ft.: $150
- Body Art Facility: $200
- Swimming pool/Spa
- 0-99,999 gallons: $400
- 100,000 – 199,999 gallons: $500
- More than 200,000 gallons: $600
- Wading pool: $200
- Spa & Whirlpool: $300
- Spa & Whirlpool: $300
- Plan review rush: $300
- Plans submitted after construction begins: 2X application fee
- Plan review resubmission: $150
*Do not begin construction until you have received plan review approval from this office.
- Food/Beverage Handler Card: $20 annually
- Beverage Card only: $7 annually
- Off premises
- Class: $75
- Responsible vendor: $15 annually
- Online Food Handler Card: $15 annually
- Replacement card: $10
- Food Service
- Up to 1,000 sq. ft.: $300
- Over 1,000 sq. ft.: $450
- Limited food service: $350
- Limited retail food service: $200
- Food Service Processors (based on gross receipts)
- $0-$99,999.99: $300
- $100,000.00 – $249,999.99: $500
- $250,000.00 – $999,999.99: $700
- $1,000,000.00 and above: $1,000
- Commissary/Mobile Unit (temporary events)
- 0 to 3 days: $175
- 4 to 14 days: $200
- Over 14 days: $400
- Lodging (Hotel/Motel, etc.)
- 0-25 rooms: $250
- 26-75 rooms: $350
- 76 + rooms: $550
- Daycare Centers
- With kitchen – 0-100 children: $200
- With kitchen – 101+ children: $300
- Sanitation certification – 0-49 children: $250
- Sanitation certification – 50-100 children: $300
- Sanitation certification – 101+ children: $350
- Body Art
- Facility: $250
- Facility renewal: $200
- Temporary facility: $75
- Operator: $75
- Swimming pool or spa: $250
- Cottage Law Application: $60
- Ice cream truck: $200
- Document/Correspondence: $25
- Copies (per page): $0.25
- Re-inspection: $60
- Duplicate Permit: $25
- Multiple Follow-up/Pre-opening: $150
- Illegal Operations Compliance Inspection: $150
- NSF Check: $30
- Late payment: $150
- Regulations (printed document): $20
- Postage: based on USPS
FORMS AND DOCUMENTS
The Beason-Hammond Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act
The Beason-Hammond Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act requires every person or sole proprietorship applying for a license or permit from the state to demonstrate his or her U.S. citizenship, or, if the person is an alien, to demonstrate his or her lawful presence in the United States. The lawful presence of an alien will be verified by the federal government through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program.
In order to comply with this law, the Alabama Department of Public Health and Mobile County Health Department require a signed declaration, along with a legible copy of a document demonstrating U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the United States, in addition to your permit or renewal application. The required declaration, and a list of acceptable documents, are attached to this letter. A business entity will be required to provide a declaration of business ownership structure if the type of ownership or business entity is not clearly indicated on the application. The department cannot process your application without the signed declaration and the appropriate supporting documentation.
Fundraising events are public events that encourage people to participate in order to raise money for a specific cause or organization. These events are considered charitable, non-profit and 100% of the proceeds raised/collected are donated to the specific cause or organization. If donations are collected for the items or goods sold, a price cannot be set. A donation is something that is given to a charity in order to help a person or organization. Prices for donations are not set.
The following information should serve as guidelines for charitable, nonprofit organizations in the sale of foods to the public through occasional bake sales or prepared meals. All inquiries related to your organization’s sale of food items as fundraisers should be directed to the Department of Food and Lodging, 251.690.8116.
Special Events / Vending
What is a special event?
An advertised public event where food is sold or given away to the public. Public events include county fairs, traveling fairs, holiday fairs, city festivals, entertainment events, cook-offs, fundraising events or any other event that is open to the public.
What role does the MCHD play at special events?
- Inspection of food vendors.
- Issuance of a temporary permit, food handling and sanitation surveys.
- Promote public health in areas of food safety and sanitation.
- Prevent occurrence of foodborne illnesses.
What is the purpose of a temporary permit?
- A temporary permit is issued on-site after conducting an inspection of the facility.
- The inspection is intended to check areas of concern as it pertains to food safety.
- A temporary permit tells the public that the facility meets the minimum requirements for a temporary food establishment.
What does MCHD look for when inspecting vendors?
- Approved food source.
- Food storage, handling and preparation.
- Proper handwashing and warewashing facilities.
- Proper establishment construction.
- Food handler hygienic practices.
- Utensil and equipment storage and sanitation.
- Water source and disposal.
- Approved Food Handler Cards.
Are there special event vendor registrations and fees?
- Vendors must contact the Food and Lodging Department at least five business days prior to the special event for requirements and registrations.
- Special event fees per temporary establishment as of May 1, 2013: (a) 0-3 days, $175, (b) 4-14 days, $200, (c) Over 14 days, $400.
- Fees must be deliverable to MCHD, Food and Lodging, Building #6.
- Acceptable payments are cash, money orders or business checks.
Are there any temporary food event exemptions?
Yes. Prepackaged and unopened non-perishable snacks and candy, canned and bottled soft drinks and water in the original container, canned and bottled pasteurized juices in the original container and whole produce are all exempt from permit.
Do I need a temporary food permit if I am giving food away?
No. Food that is given away free of charge is considered exempt from the permitting requirements unless it is given to a commercial food establishment. If you are not sure, it is best to contact an inspector of MCHD.
Can I prepare food for a special event at home?
No storage, slicing, dicing, marinating, cooking or any processes related to food preparation for any food item, dressing, garnish or other is allowed at a private residence for items served to the general public at a special event.
If I register and pay for a temporary permit, does this mean I am approved to operate?
No. The registration is subject to review and food service operations must comply with regulations before the operation.
Is there an annual permit to cover a full special event season?
No. Temporary permits are issued for each event and can only be used at the event.
If I already have a permit for my restaurant or mobile food unit, do I need a temporary food permit?
Yes. A permit is not transferable from person to person or place to place.
Can I prepare food for a special event ahead of time at an approved facility?
Advanced preparation must be approved by the Health Department ahead of time. Menu items, storage, transport, time and temperature will all be considered before such approval is granted. Cooking and cooling food items prior to an event are usually not allowed.
Location and hours of operation:
251 North Bayou St., Mobile, AL, Building #6
Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
HOTEL & MOTEL
Hotel/Motel/Lodging Worker Program
The Inspection Services Department is also responsible for inspecting the sanitary conditions of establishments that offer rent-overnight sleeping accommodations. Each of these facilities must obtain a Hotel/Motel Permit from the Health Department each year. Hotels and motels are scored on a 100 point grading scale. The current Hotel/Motel permit and inspection sheet must be in public view.
If you are interested in the score received by a hotel or motel, please call our office at 251.690.8116.
MCHD offers Public Health Lodging Worker Training – The goal of the training is to assist the industry workers with an understanding of the rules and standards outlined in the Hotel Regulations and to provide the basic knowledge and awareness of various public health and sanitation issues. For more information, please contact Inspection Services at 251.690.8116.
NEW BUSINESS/PLAN REVIEW
Thinking of starting a new food/lodging business or remodeling an existing food/lodging business?
All new/renovated/remodeled food establishments, daycare centers, hotels/motels, body art and body piercing facilities, must receive prior approval from the Health Department before beginning construction and again before the operation. Any existing food or lodging establishment undergoing renovation or remodeling must also receive prior approval from the Health Department.
What do I need to turn into MCHD for my construction/renovation project?
- A complete set of construction plans must be submitted for review by the Health Department at least 20 working days prior to the start of construction.
- Plans should include:
- the detailed proposal layout
- arrangement of fixtures and equipment
- lighting, mechanical and plumbing plans
- finish and equipment schedules
- contact information
- any other items deemed necessary by the Health Department for an efficient review process
- Plans should include:
Once plans have been reviewed, the Health Department remains an active participant throughout the construction process and must approve the business for operation before sales to the public begin.
ON-SITE SEWAGE SERVICES
ON-SITE SEWAGE SERVICES
The Mobile County Health Department’s Onsite Sewage division regulates the permitting, installations and inspections of onsite sewage disposal systems (septic tanks) for all of Mobile County, both residential and commercial. Onsite regulates septic and sewage tank pumpers, and requires an annual inspection of the pump truck prior to use. All persons involved in the onsite sewage disposal systems industry are required to be licensed by the Alabama Onsite Wastewater Board. Other duties for Onsite include the permitting and inspection of three Solid Waste Transfer Stations in Mobile County, while also being involved in the creation and expansion of private and public cemeteries.
1110 Schillinger Rd N #200
Mobile, Alabama 36608
*Located next to the Jon Archer Agricultural Center (1110 Schillinger Road North)
Monday – Friday
7:30am – 4:30pm
- On-site system verification & certification
- Septic tank permits & inspections
- Subdivision approval
- Solid waste inspections
RESTAURANT & FOOD ESTABLISHMENT
Restaurant and Food Establishment Program
The Inspection Services Department has Environmental Health Specialists who perform restaurant and food establishment inspections on a routine basis to protect consumers from unsanitary conditions, educate food service employees and to prevent foodborne illnesses.
Each food service establishment must obtain a Food Permit from the Health Department each year. Any establishment, permanent or temporary, that offers for sale, any unpackaged food product or potentially hazardous packaged product to the public must have a current permit. This permit must be displayed in public view.
The environmentalists in the Inspection Services Department use an inspection sheet based on the one used by the Alabama Department of Public Health to score restaurants using a 100-point grading scale. Critical items are four- and five-point violations that require immediate correction. A “Notice of Violation” is issued for these items until all problems are resolved. One- and two-point violations must be corrected before the next inspection date. The inspection sheet must be current and displayed in public view.
- 85 and above is a passing score.
- 70-84 requires re-inspection within 30 days.
- 60-69 requires re-inspection within 48 hours.
- 59 or below requires immediate closure.
Restaurant inspection scores are published in the Mobile Press-Register every week.
If you are interested in the score received by a restaurant not listed, please call our office at 251.690.8116.
Swimming Pool Program
The Mobile County Board of Health adopted the “Rules for the Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Swimming Pools and Spas” effective October 20, 2005. It is necessary for persons operating public pools and spas to apply for a Swimming Pool/Spa Permit for each pool or spa on the premises. There is a $250 fee per pool or spa, effective May 2013. Current permits expire in September. Notices and applications for renewal are mailed in July.
The Inspection Services Department inspects outdoor facilities at least three times between the months of May to September. Indoor facilities have inspections a minimum of three times a year.
Copies of the rules may be obtained from the Mobile County Health Department for $20 or downloaded for free from this link.
TEMPORARY FOOD SERVICE
Temporary Food Service
Individuals or groups planning to hold events that are open to the public must have a permit. The rules of the State Board of Health require that a permit to operate a temporary food booth be obtained prior to any food being sold. Each concession must have its own permit.
If you advertise the event with flyers, banners, newspaper articles or by any other means, it is considered a public event.
A valid permit shall be conspicuously posted in every temporary food service establishment. This helps ensure that the food sold will be as safe as possible. Many outbreaks of foodborne illness have been traced back to food improperly handled at temporary events.
To receive more information regarding temporary and special event requirements, please contact our office at 251.690.8116 or select documents given on this page.