Food Handler’s Permit

Mesa Komal requires everyone to get their Food Handler’s Permit.
There are two options for this:

Metro Health Department (free)  2018

2500 Charlotte Ave, Nashville , TN 37209

Class seats are limited and fill up rapidly, so call well in advance to schedule.

Attend class, take a test, and receive your permit in the mail.

2017 Training schedule Basic Foods Handlers Classes


March 6, March 29, April 10, May 8, June 5, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 4, September 11, October 9, November 15, December 11

English classes will be held in the Lentz-Centennial room from 2:00pm – 4:30pm.


March 15, May 9, July 11, September 12, November 14

Spanish  classes will be held in the Lentz-Centennial room from 2:00pm – 4:30pm.


March 12, June 11, September 17

Call to reserve space:  615-340-5620 

ServSafe Online Course and Assessment ($15 online)


Which agency regulates my product?  

If you are  a catering company serving and selling food at events or fairs that is not packaged…

You will need a “Catering Commissary Agreement” from the Health Department.

This is required by the Metro Public Health Department for all catering companies.  Catering companies are typically defined as those that serve food on-site.  Once food is sold in a container or any type of packaging, it falls under the Department of Agriculture.

This document must be signed by the business and signed by Conexión Américas.  It must then be notarized and copied.  The business and Conexión Américas keeps a copy of the document on file and the original is mailed to the Metro Health Department.


If you are selling non-meat food that is packaged and sold online, at markets/stores or wholesale…

You will need a “Manufacturing Within” from the Department of Agriculture.

This is required by the Department of Agriculture for anyone and everyone selling a packaged product.  It does not matter if you are selling it straight to the consumer at a Farmer’s Market or if you are selling it wholesale to a store.  They also do not monitor sales volume or distribution channels; they only monitor the process by which you make your product.

The document must be filled out, signed, and submitted to the Department of Agriculture.  You must include a copy of your business license, copy of the Mesa Komal contract, and a copy of your labels. There is an annual fee of $50 for this permit.

Product labels must contain:

  • Name and address of the manufacturer
  • An accurate statement of the quantity of contents in terms of weight, measure or count.
  • The common or usual name of the food
  • The ingredients in all packaged foods must be listed by their common names in descending order
  • Nutrition labeling is only required IF sales exceed $500,000 annually

Labeling and Nutrition Exemption guideline:

The nutrition labeling exemptions for low-volume products found in 21 CFR 101.9(j)(18) and 21 CFR 101.36(h)(2) apply if the person claiming the exemption employs fewer than an average of 100 full-time equivalent employees and fewer than 100,000 units of that product are sold in the United States in a 12-month period. For these exemptions, a notice must be filed annually with FDA. **More Information**

After receiving your paperwork, they will schedule an inspector to come observe you making your product and will grade you on your safety and sanitary-related procedures.

If you are selling anything with meat as an ingredient…

  • Meat in packaged sandwiches:  Meat between two pieces of bread is allowed with a permit from the Department of Agriculture.
  • Meat in packaged wraps, empanadas, tamales, etc: This requires a permit from the USDA and our facility is NOT licensed by the FDA.  You may NOT make these on site for sale.
  • Unpackaged items with meat served at an event: These items are allowed with a permit from the Health Department.  They can be made and served at events and cannot be packaged.

Yes, it is complicated so don’t hesitate to ask!


Can I cook at my house?

There are three scenarios which allow for cooking and selling product from your home.  Even when cooked from a private home, food manufactures are still liable for the safety of the products in the event their product causes food poisoning or an improperly labeled product causes an allergic reaction.

Which type of food are you preparing?

Non-potentially hazardous food:  This means jam, jellies, candy, dried mixes, most baked goods, and other such foods that do meet the definition of potentially hazardous food.

Potentially hazardous food:  (1) Any items that consist of meat, poultry, fish or shellfish, eggs (except in baked goods), or are not fully cooked  (2) Low acid canned foods (vegetables, fish, meat, etc.) and acidified foods (pickled vegetables, fish meat, eggs, etc.)  (3) Any food that requires temperature control for safety

Cooking at Home Unlicensed

  1. Only non-potentially hazardous foods, packaged and sold.
    1. These items can only be sold direct to consumer at the manufacturer’s personal residence, a community or social event, flea markets or farmer’s markets located in Tennessee.
    2. A sign must be displayed at the place of sale stating “These food products were made in a private home not licensed or inspected”
    3. Products must be labeled with name, address, name of food, date of packaging, ingredients and the statement “These food products were made in a private home not licensed or inspected”
  2. All foods, un-packaged, sold or served at events.
    1. If you meet the definitions of a “food service establishment with occasional sales” you can cater from your home.
    2. These items may not be packaged for sale, but may only be served at events.
    3. Requirements:
      •  No full time-employees
      • No paid advertising (website, facebook page, business cards, fliers are exempt)
      • Food preparation is solely performed within the confines of the principal residence
      • The business makes only occasional sales during any 30-day period, meaning no regular sales or contracts

Domestic Kitchen — Licensed Cooking at Home 

  1. Only non-potentially hazardous foods.
    1. Products may be served at events, sold to consumers at markets, or wholesale to stores.
    2. The facility must apply for a permit ($50) and agree to be inspected at least once a year.
    3. The person manufacturing the items must complete the Tennessee Food Safety Certification Course for Domestic Kitchens ($75)
    4. A Domestic Kitchen shall not exceed 100 units of sale per week.
    5. The kitchen in the home must meet the established requirements for processing.  Main items include:
      • No pets ever allowed in the house
      • No children allowed to help
      • Storage space for ingredients
      • A separate refrigerator for ingredients
      • Adequate sink and space for cleaning all utensils

More Questions?

TN Department of Agriculture

Contact: Ronald Murphy - 615-837-5153 or John Sanford – 615-837-5534

Metro Health Department

Contact: 615-340-5602