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Online Food and Lodging Licensing Guide

Online Food and Lodging Licensing Guide

Creating an Account

To access Iowa’s Online Food Licensing System, please log onto the site by entering https://iowa.safefoodinspection.com into your internet browser. Although the application functions in the most common internet browsers, the preferred internet browser is Google Chrome. If you are using another internet browser, the appearance of some of the pages and messages may differ from those in this user guide.

Log In Page:

  • If you forget your password, please use the “Forgot Password” function. As passwords are required to be changed every 120 days, the Forgot Password function will allow you access if you are an infrequent user. 
  • Existing users will enter their User Name and Password then select “Log In.”
  • If you are a new user of the system, please select “New Account.”
  • If you know what type of license you are renewing or applying for, select the correct option. If you are unsure about which license option to select, please call 515-281-7102. 
  • If you are operating business in multiple counties, select the “Multiple counties” option. If you need to go to the previous screen, click “Previous” or “Start Over.” 
  • If you are operating a single business in a single county, select the “Single county” option. If you need to go to the previous screen, click “Previous” or “Start Over.”  
  • If you selected “Multiple counties,” you will need to determine the county where the majority of your businesses reside. Once you select the county from the drop-down box, click “Next.” If you have a single business, click “Previous.” [Please note: the “City of Dubuque” is a different option from “Dubuque County.”]
  • If you selected a “Single county,” please select the county where your business is located. Once you select your county from the drop-down box, click “Next.” Otherwise, select “Previous” if you have multiple businesses. [Please note: the “City of Dubuque” is a different option from “Dubuque County.”]

The next screen will inform you of your regulatory jurisdiction. If you believe this information is incorrect, please read the instructions to review your response or choose to start over. You can also click “Food Regulatory Jurisdiction Map” to check the jurisdiction that has been selected. If you click the jurisdiction map, you will be taken to another page and be required to start over. Select “Confirm” to advance. 

Please note that ALL food processing licenses fall under the jurisdiction of the DIA Food and Consumer Safety Bureau.

Create a new user account

  • Create your own User Name and Password.
  • The “Home Jurisdiction” is pre-determined by your selection of your business location and license type.
  • Complete all “Account Information” fields. All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required fields. 
  • Review the information you have entered for accuracy and select “Save.”
  • Once you have saved your User Account, log in with your credentials.

Home Page: Facility Portal

If you are seeing this page, you have successfully logged in to the Iowa Online Food Licensing System.  
Congratulations! If you do not see this page after attempting to login using your user credentials, please try again. If you are still unsuccessful, please contact the regulatory authority.

Adding a Business

A business is the physical location of where food will be stored, prepared, or served. If food is stored, prepared, or served in more than one physical location, more than one business may necessary. For instance, if a restaurant has multiple locations each location is a separate business. One business may also have multiple licenses. For instance, if a restaurant also operates a mobile food unit or sets up a food stand at an event, they may add a new license their business. 

SPECIAL NOTE:  Temporary Food Vendors and Vending Machine Operators: If you operate in more than one Iowa regulatory jurisdiction, you will need at least one business in each jurisdiction you operate. 

  • To add a new business location, click the “Add New Business” button. You will need to enter a separate business for each physical location where food is stored, prepared or served.
  • Select the regulatory jurisdiction that will receive your license application. The jurisdiction is pre-selected based on your user account. However, if you operate in more than one county, you may need to change the justification based on the physical location of this business. Selection of the correct jurisdiction will ensure the application is received by the agency responsible for issuing the food or lodging license. Jurisdiction is based is based on the physical location where food is stored, prepared or served. All food processing plants must select the DIA Food and Consumer Safety Bureau jurisdiction. For all other food or lodging businesses, please follow the Jurisdiction Selection Instructions.

Selecting or Creating an Owner Account: 

Owner accounts are specific to the jurisdiction. Iowa has 13 food and lodging regulatory jurisdictions. If an operation has businesses more than one Iowa jurisdiction, a separate owner account is necessary for each jurisdiction. If an owner account exists in a jurisdiction, an owner account will appear in the “Select Owner Account” field.  

  • Select “Create New Owner Account” if there there is not an existing owner account in the selected jurisdiction.
  • If you have an existing owner account in the selected jurisdiction, select the applicable owner account from the drop-down menu. 
  • If creating a new owner account is necessary, additional fields will appear that require information.
  • The “Program Owner Address” information is for the owner account and may differ from the mailing address for the business.

Business Address

  • The physical address for the business is the location where food is stored, prepared or served. Mobile Food Licenses are statewide licenses, so the physical address should indicated the home base of operations for the unit. Farmers Market and Annual Temporary Licenses are countywide licenses, so the physical address must be located within the county where the food will be served.
  • The mailing address is the address that will receive business correspondence related to this business location such as the license.
  • Your Owner and Business accounts are now created. Select “Save New Business With Program” if you are ready to proceed with the license application. If you are not quite ready to apply for a license, select “Save New Business.”

Apply for a License

Carefully read each question and all responses before choosing a response and clicking “Next.” 
Underlined words will display additional information. To view this information, place your cursor over the word. 

License Selection:

Once the license questionnaire is completed, the license type that best fits the responses will appear. 

  • Click the box to select the license type provided.
  • Once the license type box is checked, select the “Select” button. You will be asked to confirm the selection.
  • Select “Yes” to proceed with the selected license application.
  • Select “Previous” if you wish to revisit your responses.

New License Application

  • Each license type asks for different information. Gross sales are not required for most new licenses.
  • Enter license information in all applicable fields.
  • Once all application fields are competed, save the application by selecting “Save”.  If you wish to return license questionnaire, please note the information in the application fields will not be saved. 

Adding Attachments:

Add supporting documentation as attachments.  Applications without adequate supporting documents attached may be delayed. Necessary attachments may include, food stand diagrams, menus, policies and procedures, HACCP plans and proof of gross sales.  

  • Select a file from your computer.
  • Provide a simple description (e.g., "Food Stand Diagram")
  • Choose attachment type from dropdown menu. If you are uncertain, select “Other."
  • Upload file to the system. Uploaded attachments will appear if the upload was successful.
  • Once all attachments are successfully uploaded, select “Add to Cart."

Home Screen:

After the license application is complete and “Add to Cart” has been selected, the home screen will appear and the business listed. 

  • Select the pencil and paper icon to view or edit business information.
  • Select the ">" icon to view license details.
  • Select the shopping cart icon to view cart and proceed to checkout.
  • Click the "+" icon to see application information. (Note: Application information cannot be changed while the license is in the shopping cart.)

The application is in “Draft” status until payment is made.

Pay for a Food or Lodging License

  • Verify the license is in the cart and select “Checkout” proceed with payment. NOTE: Both Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) AND credit/debit card payments are accepted. There is a $1 transaction fee for bank transfers and a 2.5% transaction fee for credit and debit cards.  For EFT/ACH payments, you will need your routing and account numbers to pay online. The payment site will provide payment confirmation; please print or save the payment confirmation.
  • After the payment is complete, select "Continue," and the home screen will appear.
  • To apply for an additional license at a different physical address, select “Add New Business,” and the application process will start over.   
  • To add an additional license for the same physical address, select “Add New Business Program,” and the application process will start.   
  • Confirm that each license is in a “Submitted” status. Once the regulatory agency has approved the license, the status will change to “Active.”
  • Login to the Iowa’s Online Food Licensing System to check the status of the license.