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Health Division

The Health Division enforces food and sanitary laws for Inspectional Services. Learn about our team approach to protecting public health.

The Health Division is responsible for ensuring businesses in Boston meet required state sanitary codes and applicable state laws and local ordinances. We inspect businesses that offer food to the public, including:

  • retail food stores
  • restaurants and caterers
  • daycares, hospitals, and nursing homes
  • food trucks and push carts
  • camps for children, and
  • swimming pools and baths.

How often our division does inspections is based on the type of establishment. We conduct compliance inspections to ensure violations are corrected. Inspectors also respond to all complaints of unsanitary conditions, illness, and health and safety concerns.

Hosting a Potluck Event in Boston

We have safety tips to follow when hosting a potluck event.

Hosting a Potluck Event

What to do if you have a complaint

If you have a complaint about a local food business, you can call us at 617-635-5326, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. You can also call or contact 311

If you think you became ill after eating at a Boston establishment, you should first contact your doctor. Then, contact us to file a complaint and we’ll investigate the complaint. Illness complaints require contact information.

Food service regulations and codes

Mayor's Food Court

We add each food service business to our database when we inspect them. The Mayor's Food Court is our online database that keeps track of food service businesses in the City. You can see ratings based on violations and other data.

Learn More

Letter grading system

The City of Boston adopted an ordinance to create a restaurant and food truck letter grading system.  The system protects consumers and provides them with information about recent health inspections.

We turn violations into a numerical point system. We then use this information to give letter grades that are placed on the wall outside of the establishment. Learn more about our grading system.

Food service permits

All businesses must apply for a permit before they can offer food to the public. Learn how to apply for a food permit.

Part of the permitting process is to get certified as a food manager. The required program teaches you how to handle food the right way. Learn more about the food manager program.


In October of 2018, Massachusetts amended the regulations and  made a few important changes to the food code. Check the state's retail food website for more details.


If you receive a violation during an inspection, you will receive an order of correction on the inspection report. The inspector will review any questions about corrective actions. If you are unable to reach the inspector, call 617-635-5326 and ask for a supervisor.

Retail residential kitchens

We have information about permitting and the Retail Residential Kitchens Ordinance:

Kitchen permit information
Kitchen video guide

Multilingual Documents and Applications

Multilingual Documents and Applications

Notice if Accommodations

English: Interpretation, translation, and disability accommodation services are available to you at no cost. If you need them, please contact us at,, or 617-635-5300   

Spanish - Español: Hay servicios de interpretación, traducción y adaptaciones para discapacidades a su disposición sin costo alguno. Si los necesita, por favor póngase en contacto con nosotros mandando un correo electrónico a o llamando a 617-635-5300      

Haitian Creole -Kreyòl ayisyen:  Sèvis entèpretasyon, tradiksyon, ak sèvis akomodasyon pou andikape disponib pou ou gratis. Si w bezwen sèvis sa yo, tanpri kontakte nou nan oswa 617-635-5300

Traditional Chinese - 繁體中文:  我們可以為您提供免費的口譯, 筆譯, 和殘疾人士合理照顧服務。如有需要,請與我們連絡,發電子郵件至 或致電 617-635-5300

Vietnamese - Tiếng Việt: Các dịch vụ thông dịch, dịch thuật và hỗ trợ người khuyết tật được cung cấp miễn phí cho bạn. Nếu bạn cần họ, vui lòng liên lạc với chúng tôi theo địa chỉ hoặc 617-635-5300

Simplified Chinese -  简体中文:  们可以为您提供免费的口译, , 和残疾人士合理照顾服务。如有需要,请与我们联系发电子邮件,  或致 617-635-5300

Cabo Verdean Creole - kriolu:  Nu ta oferese-bu sirvisus di interpretason, traduson y sirvisus di komodason pa gentis ku difisénsia di grasa. Si bu meste kes sirvisu la, kontata-nu pa email,  ó pa telefóni, pa númeru 617-635-5300

 Arabic - العربية

خدمات الترجمة الشفوية والتحريرية والتسهيلات لذوي الإعاقة متوفرة لك دون تحملك أي تكلفة. إذا احتجت لهذه الخدمات، يرجى التواصل معنا على البريد الألكتروني ،(، أو على رقم الهاتف 6176355300.

Russian -Русский: Услуги устного и письменного перевода и по приспособлению инвалидов предоставляются бесплатно. Если Вам они нужны, просьба связаться с нами по адресу электронной почты либо по телефону 617-635-0708

Portuguese - Português: Disponibilizamos serviços de tradução e interpretação e adaptações especiais para pessoas com deficiências gratuitamente. Para solicitar, envie e-mail para ou ligue para 617-635-0708

French - Français: Les services d'interprétation, de traduction et d'adaptation aux personnes handicapées sont à votre disposition gratuitement. Si vous en avez besoin, veuillez nous contacter à ou au 617-635-0708

Somali - Af Soomaali: Adeegyada tarjumaadda luuqadaha iyo hoyga naafada ayaa diyaar kuu ah adiga oo aan wax kharash ah ka bixin. Haddii aad u baahatid iyaga, fadlan nagala soo xiriir ama 617-635-0708

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