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Salvage Brokers and Establishments

Salvage brokers and establishments routinely handle distressed merchandise. Distressed merchandise refers to any food, drug, device or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded under the Texas Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and includes merchandise that:

  • Has lost its label or is otherwise unidentified.
  • Has been subjected to prolonged or improper storage.
  • Has been subjected for any reason to abnormal environmental conditions, including temperature extremes, humidity, smoke, water, fumes, pressure or radiation.
  • Has been subjected to conditions that result in either its strength, purity or quality falling below that which it purports or is represented to possess. 
  • May have been rendered unsafe or unsuitable for human consumption or use for any other reason.

The Foods Unit and Drugs and Medical Devices Unit are responsible for ensuring salvage brokers, salvage establishments and salvage warehouses comply with minimum licensing standards established to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Texas. To accomplish this objective, inspections of these facilities are conducted in accordance with state law, using risk-based inspection criteria. If voluntary compliance with the licensing standards cannot be achieved, the Units recommend regulatory actions when necessary. In addition, the Units provide technical assistance to their licensees, answer inquiries from consumers and investigate complaints involving possible violations of the state requirements for acting as a salvage broker or operating a salvage establishment or salvage warehouse.


We require any business operating as a salvage broker (for example, a person who engages in the selling, distributing or otherwise trafficking in distressed or salvaged merchandise, but who does not operate a salvage establishment) or salvage establishment (for example, a place of business that is engaged in reconditioning or otherwise salvaging distressed merchandise, or that buys, sells or distributes salvaged merchandise for human use) to be licensed with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). In addition, a person who acts as a salvage broker or who operates a salvage establishment outside this state may sell, distribute or otherwise traffic in distressed or salvaged merchandise in Texas if the person holds a license issued by DSHS. Certain licensing exemptions apply. To learn more about becoming licensed, visit the applications and forms webpage.

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Contact Information

For Food Salvaging Program Assistance

Email: Manufactured Foods Unit
Phone: 512-834-6670
Fax: 512-834-6681

For Drug, Device and Cosmetic Salvaging Program Assistance

Email: Drugs and Medical Devices Unit
Phone: 512-834-6755
Fax: 512-206-2777

For Licensing Assistance

Email: Drugs and Food Safety Licensing Unit
Phone: 512-834-6727
Fax: 512-834-6741

Mailing addresses may be found on the contact page.

Last updated December 7, 2021