Food prepared with rotten ingredients or through unsafe cooking practices (such as undercooking, unclean hands or dirty utensils) is a health risk. Food service organizations, such as caterers, must be licensed to do business legally. In Maryland, caterers must obtain a food service facility license. To obtain a license, the caterer must ensure that his facility and food preparation methods comply with Maryland’s food service regulations.

Review the provisions in Title 10, Chapter 15 of the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) that deal with food and food service facilities. Your kitchen and food preparation techniques must comply with the applicable sections of this code (such as, dealing with cleanliness of the building).

Contact the health department in the county where your business is located. For a list of contact numbers by county see Resources.

Schedule an inspection with the health department. Ask for a food service facility license application form. The clerk can help you obtain the proper forms.

Pass the inspection. If your business complies with the food service facility regulations, you will be licensed to legally serve food in Maryland as a caterer.