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Food Catering Requirements in New Jersey

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Many chefs and entrepreneurs pursue their passion by providing catering services. However, New Jersey has regulations regarding the industry, so before you begin this new career path, it's important to understand the state's food-catering requirements. Breaking these laws, even by mistake, can lead to significant fines.

Food Retail Licensing

In New Jersey, food catering falls under the heading of Food Retail, and licensing for this is handled through the health department of each individual county. Each department has its own application process, which requires information about applicants' catering services and backgrounds. There's also an application fee, which varies by county.

Alcohol Certificate

Serving alcohol is not a requirement in food catering, but many caterers do offer this service as well. New Jersey requires a permit application for each specific event; as of 2010, this type of permit cost $100 and was good only for a 24-hour period. The permit application can be downloaded through the state of New Jersey's official website (see Resources).

Food Inspections

Inspectors from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services are responsible for sending inspectors to all businesses that sell milk, wholesale food and shellfish. The state's food health code is available online or from local health departments. Copies of inspection reports must be made available upon request.


K. C. Morgan is a professional freelance writer, with articles and blog posts appearing on dozens of sites. During her years of writing professionally, K. C. has covered a wide range of topics. She has interviewed experts in several fields, including celebrated psychoanalyst Frances Cohen Praver, PhD; television personality and psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig; and entrepreneur Todd Reed.