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Assisted Living Kitchen/Food Service Transition Information
The 2019 Minnesota Legislature enacted a law creating new licensing requirements for assisted living in Minnesota. The new Assisted Living Licensure (ALL) laws can be found in Minnesota Statute Chapter 144G.
The Assisted Living Licensure laws went into effect August 1, 2021.
As a result of the new law, kitchens in licensed Assisted Living facilities are regulated under the ALL laws and exempt from obtaining food licenses from Minnesota Department of Health’s Environmental Health Division (MDH EH) and local delegated partners. At this time, all inspections of kitchens/food service at Assisted Living facilities in the state will move to MDH EH. MDH EH will continue to ensure facilities comply with the Minnesota Food Code, Minnesota Rules Chapter 4626.
How does the Assisted Living license transition affect businesses previously licensed by MDH EH and local delegated programs?
Beginning August 1, 2021, most portions of Assisted Living facilities previously licensed by MDH EH and local delegated partners are exempt from obtaining a license from MDH EH and local delegated partners. Under the new law, ALL facilities are not required to be licensed as a boarding establishment, food and beverage service establishment, hotel, motel, lodging establishment, resort, or restaurant under MN Statute Chapter 157. Public pools in Assisted Living facilities are still required to obtain a license from MDH EH and local delegated partners.
The table below indicates the jurisdiction responsible for licensing, inspection, and enforcement for programs or services provided in Assisted Living facilities.
|Program or Service
|Jurisdiction with Authority
|Food and beverage
MDH HRD will license Assisted Living facilities including food service areas operated by the entity that obtained the Assisted Living License. MDH EH will inspect all foodservice areas, regardless of whether the food is served to the public or only to residents.
MDH EH and delegated agencies will continue to license and inspect food and beverage establishments operated by outside parties that use the facilities or independent businesses renting a space. These entities are required to obtain a separate food license from MDH EH or delegated agency.
|Nonpublic drinking water supplies
|MDH EH and Delegated EH
|Program issuing license
|Foodborne & waterborne disease investigation
All Assisted Living facilities throughout the state of Minnesota will have their kitchens inspected by MDH EH along with their Assisted Living License survey.
The new law went into effect August 1, 2021.
One of the major aims behind the development of Assisted Living Licensure was to combine and centralize regulatory responsibility for this new type of facility within a single license to ensure equal protections and consistent regulations for all residents of Assisted Living Facilities. The new law provides protections beyond food safety to include many new life and safety regulations for Assisted Living facilities and their residents.
The kitchens/food service at Assisted Living facilities will be inspected every two years, as part of the facilities’ initial and re-licensing process. Kitchens may also be inspected at any time as part of a complaint investigation.
This law establishes in statute a new frequency for inspections (also known as surveys).
The new Assisted Living Licensure law establishes new regulations across a wide spectrum of life and safety measures for residents in Assisted Living facilities including food safety, facility design, staffing levels, training, and other person-centered protections.
The duties for investigating water and foodborne illnesses at Assisted Living facilities in delegated jurisdictions transferred to MDH EH on August 1, 2021. Delegated agencies will be notified if a foodborne or waterborne illness outbreak is being investigated at a facility in their jurisdiction.
MDH EH will continue to be primarily responsible to conduct foodborne and waterborne illness investigations in licensed Assisted Living facilities.
As part of the new Assisted Living Licensure, kitchen plan reviews will be done by MDH HRD and incorporated into the plan reviews of Assisted Living facilities.
Kitchen plans reviewed prior to August 1, 2021, by locally delegated jurisdictions and MDH EH will be honored by MDH HRD. Plan review documentation will be forwarded to MDH HRD by the agency that completed the plan review as needed.
The expectations for local delegated programs include basic types of technical assistance to MDH such as providing historical documentation (including inspection reports), plan review documentation, and license history as requested.
At this time, specific documents and materials have not been identified. MDH may ask for specific documents in the future.
A list of licensed Assisted Living Providers is posted on the MDH website and updated daily. To search for licensed Assisted Living Facilities, use the Health Care Provider Directory. Select Assisted Living Facilities in Step 1 and your preferences in Step 2.
Note: Assisted Living facilities previously licensed by MDH EH and local delegated partners for food and lodging are exempt from obtaining a license from MDH EH and local delegated partners. However, the licensing exemption does not apply to other types of licenses, such as Comprehensive Home Care, that are issued by MDH HRD.
MDH HRD will license and MDH EH will inspect all food service areas operated by the entity that obtained the Assisted Living license, regardless of whether the food is served to the public or only to residents. MDH EH and delegated agencies will continue to license and inspect food and beverage establishments operated by outside parties that use the facilities or independent businesses renting a space. These entities are required to obtain a separate food license from MDH EH or delegated agency.
Some examples of businesses that may continue to be licensed by MDH EH and delegated agencies include a coffee shop run by an outside vendor, or an organization where an outside vendor uses the facility’s kitchen to prepare food.
If you are uncertain who should license a particular establishment, please contact:
- MDH HRD Assisted Living Licensure at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Food, Pools, and Lodging Services (FPLS) using the FPLS Contact Us online form.
Fees paid by Assisted Living providers for kitchens/food licenses at Assisted Living facilities prior to August 1, 2021, will remain with MDH EH or local programs. These fees paid to MDH EH and locally delegated agencies will not be prorated, partially or fully refunded.
Housing with Services registrations will no longer be offered after August 1, 2021. All Housing with Services establishments that have not converted to an Assisted Living License are prohibited from providing assisted living services effective August 1, 2021.
In addition, a process will be established to review an establishment’s licensure when MDH EH or a locally delegated partner, identify an establishment not licensed as an Assisted Living facility and MDH EH, or the locally delegated partner, have concerns about potential Assisted Living services being provided.
All pools and spas will continue to be licensed and inspected by MDH EH and delegated programs.
Well inspections for nonpublic water supplies will be conducted by MDH EH at the time of the kitchen inspection. The MDH Drinking Water Protection Section will inspect the wells for public water supplies during their annual site visits. Water sampling will be conducted by the drinking water protection section for all systems that meet the definition of a public water supply. For systems that do not meet the definition of a public water supply, the Assisted Living facility is responsible for sampling and maintaining documents in compliance with the MN Food Code, Minnesota Rules, part4626.1005 and 4626.1010.
Local organizations and the public can send non-illness complaints to MDH’s Health Regulation Division by phone at 651-201-4200, email at email@example.com, or via the Assisted Living Licensure website.
To report a suspect foodborne or waterborne illness:
- Call 1-877-FOOD-ILL (1877-366-3455) from within Minnesota, or
- Submit your report using the Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Report, our confidential online survey, or
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fees paid for food licenses prior to August 1, 2021, will not be reimbursed back to providers. Food license fees paid before this time will remain with the agency that licensed the facility’s kitchen prior to August 1, 2021. Fees for kitchen inspections are included in the Assisted Living License initial and renewal fees after August 1, 2021.
Some equipment must be certified or classified for sanitation by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certification program. See the Equipment Requirements fact sheet for more information about general requirements and exemptions.