Kentucky views your catering business as a food service establishment. This requires you to adhere to the state’s food permit and food safety guidelines. Kentucky has separate licensing laws for caterers that serve alcoholic beverages. Taking the time to understand the food permit mandates and the alcoholic beverage control laws will aid in your efforts to have a business that is in good standing with the state of Kentucky.

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is the agency that oversees the state’s food safety regulations. Your classification as a food service establishment requires you to obtain a Kentucky permit to operate a food service establishment from the CHFS Food Safety Branch. The Kentucky Food Code includes many of the 2005 U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code regulations. This includes the mandate that requires you to have a food safety manager who holds the proper food safety certification.

Kentucky Food Establishment Inspections

The Kentucky Food Code also requires sanitation inspections. County-level food inspectors with FDA credentials conduct the inspections. As of January 2011, the Food Establishment Inspection Report was the form that the inspectors used to assign an inspection score. A 100-point scale served as the basis for the scoring. Establishments with a score of 85 or higher have until the next inspection date to resolve minor infractions, such as improperly stored linen. If you have minor infractions with a score between 70 to 84 points, you will need to correct the infractions within 30 days.

Severe Kentucky Food Code Infractions

The Kentucky Food Code stipulates that food establishments are to operate under sanitary conditions. If you have a severe infraction, such as an unsafe water source, you must clear it within 10 days. If you receive a score of less than 70 points, the inspector will begin the process of suspending your permit. The suspension goes into effect 10 days after the notice of intent. The 10-day waiting period gives you an opportunity to request a suspension hearing.

Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

The Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regulates the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages. If you plan to sell alcoholic beverages at your events, you will need to acquire a catering license from the agency’s licensing division. The agency will issue the catering license to you as a primary license holder if your catering kitchen is located in a wet county. Wet counties permit the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Storing and Transporting Alcoholic Beverages

If your catering kitchen is located in a wet county, you may store alcoholic beverages under lock and key when an event is not in progress. Your ABC caterer’s license permits you to transport alcoholic beverages for sale and to serve by the drink. The license allows you to transport through dry areas, but you may not sell in a dry area. When transporting alcoholic beverages, you must label the vehicle according to the Kentucky ABC guidelines. Your vehicle has to have signage of a contrasting color that shows the name of your catering company and your caterer’s license number.