The Food and Lodging Unit is responsible for protecting public health through licensing and inspection of restaurants, bars, lodging and bed and breakfast facilities, mobile home parks, campgrounds, retail food stores, meat markets, bakeries, child care food service, school food service, salvage food establishments, small food manufacturers/ processors, tanning facilities, tattoo and body art facilities, electrologists and assisted living facilities. Inspection procedures ensure that these licensed establishments meet both sanitation and certain fire/life safety standards before opening to the public and while in operation.
The Division of Food and Lodging also has Memorandums of Understanding (MOU's) with eight local health units whereby the units provide inspection and licensing functions within their areas of jurisdiction. There are MOU's with three city health units and five multi-county health units:
- Bismarck Burleigh Public Health
- Central Valley District Health
- Fargo Cass Public Health
- First District Health Unit
- Grand Forks Public Health
- Southwestern District Health Unit
- Upper Missouri District Health Unit
- Western Plains Public Health
The Unit provides educational courses in safe food handling, reviews plans for new establishments and extensive remodeling projects, and helps investigate foodborne illness outbreaks.
The Unit also serves as the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) liaison in the state on issues related to manufactured food and pesticide residues in food.