Contact Us

#3 John Bennett Drive
PO Box 1426
Fort Madison, IA 52627
Toll Free:......800.458.6672

Food and Lodging

Environmental Services is responsible for food and lodging in Lee, Henry, Des Moines, and Van Buren counties. Environmental staff conducts inspections and handles licensing for restaurants, taverns, grocery/convenience stores, hotels, farmer's markets, temporary events, mobile units, schools, and vending machines.  

Download Applications Here!

Let's Talk About Food Trucks

Food trucks are officially known as "mobile units" or "push carts" depending on the structure and intended use of the unit. Summer is a popular time for mobile units, and we receive many questions about how the regulations apply to these establishments. Mobile units are broken down into four groups based on the unit's menu.

Class 1: Non-refrigerated vending units.


  • Non-potentially hazardous, commercially packaged items such as chips, cookies, and candy. These units do not need a license to operate, but may require an additional warehouse license. 

Class 2: Refrigerated or hot vending units

  • No preparation, assembly, cooking, or open packages of food or beverages is allowed on the unit. Food may be prepared commercially, or in the permit holder's licensed restaurant or commissary. Examples of food sold include packaged sandwiches, ice cream bars, and individually wrapped and cooked hot dogs. 

Class 3: Potentially and non-potentially hazardous packaged food and unpackaged food with limited assembly.

  • No preparation, assembly, or cooking of raw animal foods is allowed on this unit. Commercial or commissary prepared foods may be reheated on the unit. Examples for this unit include packaged salads, hot dogs, and shaved ice. 

Class 4: Potentially and non-potentially hazardous foods that are prepared, cooled, cooled, reheated, and assembled on the unit using precooked and/or raw products.

  • The menu for this type of unit is unlimited.  

There are different requirements for each group,
 as well as basic requirements for all units. You can learn more about these groups and the requirements by viewing the Mobile Food Unit Operation Guide. 

Find the guide here: Mobile Food Unit Operation Guide

Sandwich.pngAre You Ready for Temporary Season?

As the weather gets warner, the season for temporary events will be in full swing. LCHD wants to make sure all seasonal food vendors who require a license get one prior to operating for the season to avoid penalties and closure. 

The fee for a temporary license is $33.50. Applications must be submitted with payment at least 3 business days before the event. A license is valid for 14 days in conjunction with a single event. Those granted a license will be subject to inspection from LCHD. 

You need a license if...

  • You sell cold or frozen items such as ice cream.
  • You sell cooked food such as hot dogs or hamburgers.
  • You sell unpackaged items like popcorn, bulk nuts, or beverages by the glass.
  • You sell unpackaged, exposed baked goods.

*For information on nonprofit exemptions review our exemption flowchart, or contact our office with questions.

Nonprofit Exemption Flowchart

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Helpful Links and Forms

Guidance Documents

FDA's Employee Health and Hygiene Handbook

Employee Health Reporting Agreement (Form 1-b)

Home Food Q&A

Food Service Establishment Requirements

Operator's Guidelines for Temporary Food

Nonprofit Exemption Flowchart

Temporary Event Self Checklist

2016 ServSafe Flyer

2016 ServSafe in Spanish Flyer

FDA Proper Cooking Temperaturer and Safety Tips

Search for inspection reports here. 


FDA 2009 Food Code

Administrative Rules
Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 481--30, "Food and Consumer Safety"
Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 481--31, "Food Establishment and Food Processing Plant Inspections"
Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 481--34, "Home Food Establishments"
Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 481--35, "Contractor Requirements"
Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 481--37, "Hotel and Motel Inspections"

Iowa Law
Iowa Code Chapter 137C, "Hotel Sanitation Code"
Iowa Code Chapter 137D, "Home Food Establishments"
Iowa Code Chapter 137F, "Food Establishments and Food Processing Plants"