Table of Contents

Federal Requirements
State and Local Requirements
UPC Barcodes
UMaine Cooperative Ext. Specialty Food Producer Resources
The Manomet Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC)


Doing Business in Maine Licensing Requirements Checklist

Whether you’re growing, producing, processing, manufacturing, distributing or selling food in the State of Maine, your business may be required to obtain a series of licenses and permits. The following information is presented systematically to ensure compliance. Please be advised that this list is effective as of November 2016 and may be subject to changes in federal and state law. It is in your best interest to visit the websites for the most up-to-date information.

To get started, it’s wise to:

  1. Develop a business plan, complete with pro-forma financial statements.
  2. Decide whether to operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability corporation or     corporation.
  3. It’s best to consult an attorney if you decide to incorporate, form a limited liability company or a partnership. Incorporation papers are available at the State, Bureau of Corporations – 207.624.7736 or
  4. It’s also critical to protect the name of your business by filing a Trademark or Service Mark with the Secretary of State’s office;

There are a number of local, regional and state organizations ready to be of assistance, but it can be confusing.  The MGFPA should be your first stop, so please pick up the phone to call – 207.622.4461 or send an email to

FMI about doing business in Maine, visit  OR

Federal Requirements


Step 1: IRS – Form. Apply for a Federal Employer Identification (EIN) Number or Federal Tax Identification number at and click Online Services.  You are required to file this if you: pay wages to one or more employees; or are required to have an EIN to sue on a specific return, statement or document or plan to incorporate.  Call 1.800.829.3676.

Step 2: Most food facilities are required to register with the FDA.   Registrations are required to be renewed beginning on October 1 and ending on December 31 of each even-numbered year.

Step 3: Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The TTB’s National Revenue Center collects tax revenues; screens applications; issues permits and approves notices or registrations; reconciles returns, reports, and claims; and provides technical assistance to Bureau employees and industry members on related laws and regulations. They may be reached at 877-882-3277 or at Application form #TTB F 5630.5d.

State and Local Requirements


Step 1: Establish a bank account. Several license applications will require completed bank account information.

Step 2: Visit your municipal office to see what licenses or permits are needed. These vary by community but may include retail license, building occupancy permit and victualer’s license and more.

Step 3: Submit incorporation papers to the Secretary of State. If you are a corporation or wish to create one, it is recommended that you contact the Secretary of State at 207-624-7736 and speak to the Corporate Examining Section or visit their website at

Step 4: Maine State Income Tax Withholding and Unemployment Insurance. Apply for a sales tax number and unemployment compensation number by visiting – click on Sales/Use and Service Provider Tax. Call them at 207-624-9693 or send them an email at or  Have employees complete and keep in employer’s files:  Employee’s Withholding Certificate W-4 obtained from the IRS and Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 obtained from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Download the form here:

Step 5: Grocery Store & Food Production Licenses. Apply for a Food & Fuel License with the Maine Department of Agriculture. Application fees vary and all are subject to satisfactory inspections. Visit or call them at 207-287-3741.

Step 6: Beer & Wine License. Apply for an Off Premise Liquor License with the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations by visiting Click on Liquor Licensing. Application fees may vary and all are subject to satisfactory inspection. Call them at 207-624-7220. Visit their office at 10 Water Street, Hallowell, Maine 04347.

Step 7: Liquor License. Apply for an Agency Liquor Store License with the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations by visiting  Application fees may vary. They may be reached at 207-624-7220. Visit their office at 10 Water Street, Hallowell, Maine 04347.

Step 8: Food Stamps or SNAP. Applying to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at your store is a simple three-step process: get a US Department of Agriculture account, fill out an application online, and mail your supporting documentation to complete your file. Visit for complete information or call them at 877-832-4369.

Step 9: WIC Program. To obtain vendor authorization and subsequent training call 800-437-9300 or visit Acceptance is contingent on a satisfactory inspection and approval of food and pricing information. They have offices throughout the state. Visit their website for a complete listing.

Step 10: Retail Tobacco License. To obtain a Retail Tobacco License call 207-287-5671 or visit Visit their office directly at 286 Water Street, Augusta.

Step 11: Retail Seafood Licenses. To obtain Retail Seafood Licenses call 207-624-6550 or visit their website for complete listing information. Their offices are located at 2 Beech Street, Hallowell.

Step 12: Plant License. To obtain a Nursery Stock license to sell plants, contact the Maine Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry at 207-287-3891 or visit their website and click on licensing. Their office is located at Deering Building, Blossom Way, Augusta.

Step 13: Maine Lottery Tickets. To obtain a Lottery application, call the Maine State Lottery Commission at 800-452-8777 (in state) or 207-287-6758 or print off an application by visiting   Completed applications must be mailed to the Maine State Lottery Commission, 8 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333. Lottery personnel will install equipment and provide equipment upon application acceptance.

Step 14: General use Pesticide Dealer License. To obtain a General Use License to sell certain pesticides, visit or call their office at 207-287-2731.

Step 15: Maine Milk Commission Monthly Pricing Reports: The Maine Milk Commission sets the minimum wholesale and retail price for milk every month. Milk may not be sold below set minimums. To obtain monthly price information, contact the Maine Milk Commission at 207-287-7521.

Step 16:  Obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

Step 17:  Required Labor Posters.  To obtain labor posters call the Department of Labor at 207.624.4100 or visit their website at  Visit this website to learn more about Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Step 18: Good Shepherd Food Bank: The Good Shepherd Food Bank will arrange pick up of unsold items suitable to be donated. To learn more, call their Auburn facility at 207-782-3554 or visit their website

UPC Barcodes

Why do I need a UPC Barcode?
To introduce your product into the supply chain and/or gain efficiencies throughout the distribution process, it is important to define identifier structures for your products which can be used throughout all segments of the food industry for shipping, receiving, inventory control, product and asset tracking and many other applications.

Tracking and tracing of product movement at low cost and high accuracy is practical to do by scanning products barcoded per a standard (a GS1 Company Prefix, a Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN®), a U.P.C., or a GTIN-14).  This standard-based product identification helps ensure that everyone in the supply chain can unambiguously read and use the information encoded in the barcodes. 

Barcoding products allows for information to be captured immediately once the product is scanned; thus eliminating the need to manually read and key the information into your systems.  This information is not limited to just the identification of the product, but can include additional attributes of the product that are needed by the handler of that product.  This is beneficial for members throughout the supply chain that physically handle the product.  It will also reduce all of the resources required to manually key in the information and the resolution of errors caused by mis-keying the data.

Looking for information on how to create a UPC barcode? Contact MGFPA today for more information on barcode creation and resources. 



University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension: Small Business Education
Resources for Food Entrepreneurs
Orono, Maine – University of Maine Cooperative Extension has launched a new online resource designed to be particularly useful to aspiring or existing food manufacturers wanting to produce specialty food products. VISIT the website to learn more!


Manomet’s Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC)

Efficiency of store operations through a sustainability lens (GSC)

Independent Maine grocers have an exciting opportunity to enroll in Manomet’s Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) program at no cost thanks to a recent grant. This program gives grocery store owners a look at the efficiency of store operations through a sustainability lens. More than 700 grocery stores nationwide are enrolled in Manomet’s GSC, making it the leading grocery sustainability program in North America. Through this project, the GSC will recommend additional no-cost/low-cost operational opportunities to save money/resources and generate revenue at your store and provide certification for you and your store management as strong environmental and community stewards.

The stores enrolled in this program receive recommendations for no or low-cost initiatives that can save them up to $20,000 or more per year! It takes approximately 3 hours of your time to reap these benefits. Download the flyer to learn more!

Bow Street Market in Freeport recently took advantage of the GSC program; read about their experiences in this Mainebiz article. For more information about enrolling your store, please contact GSC Program Manager Peter Cooke at