City of Boston
Boston Inspectional Services
Health Division - Frequently Asked Questions
Consumer FAQs: Food Service FAQs:
The Health Division of the Boston Inspectional Services Department administers the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code in Boston. The Massachusetts Sate Sanitary Code regulates food service practices and restaurant management. Each restaurant is inspected twice a year by professionally certified food safety inspectors. Food service establishments include: restaurants, donut shops, retail food stores, and any other establishment that offers food to the public.
Food service establishments are inspected at least once per year.
A consumer can report a complaint in the following ways:
  • Call the Division of Health Inspections at 617-635-5326, Fax 635-5388 - 8am to 4pm Monday - Friday. It is not mandatory to give your name when making a complaint.
  • Call the Mayor's 24-Hour Help Line, 7 days a week, at 617-635-4500.
An inspector will be dispatched to inspect and follow-up with the restaurant manager.
If you think you've gotten sick from eating in a food service establishment:
  • Contact your health care provider.
  • Contact the Division of Health Inspections. When reporting a possible foodborne illness, we urge you to call the Division of Health Inspections so we may obtain all the information necessary to perform a proper investigation.
As each restaurant is inspected it will be added to our database. Each restaurant is inspected at least once a year by professionally certified food safety inspectors. New restaurants cannot open without an inspection and approval from the Health division. Further inquiries can be directed to ISD via the contact page.
To apply for a Food Service Permit:
  • Submit a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) for intended use
  • New operations - Provide a floor plan and request an appointment for plan review
  • Submit a food service application to the Health Division
  • Provide a copy of your Food Safety Manager Certification or evidence of application
  • Pay the proper fees and schedule an initial inspection
The Food Safety Manager's Certification Program is a nationally recognized program designed to train and certify food service personnel in the concepts of food safety and protection. It is mandatory for all food service establishments.

For more information about the Food Safety Manager's Certification Program click here.
Health Permit Fees:
  • Food Service - $200 minimum - sit down restaurant that does not offer take-out
  • Food Service - $200 minimum - sit down or not, offering take-out
  • Retail Food - $100 retail only - less than 2500 sq. ft.
  • Retail Food - $300 retail food with take-out
  • Temporary Food Service Permits - $30 first day and $5 each additional day - issued to any organization for a period not to exceed 14 days (i.e.; special events such as the Boston Marathon, North End Feasts and Neighborhood block parties
Review the health report with the inspector at the time of the inspection to make sure you understand what the violations are in order to make the corrections

If you have not reviewed the violations with the inspector on premises, contact him or her to ensure an understanding of good, safe food practices. Materials are available from the Health Division, to support your efforts in meeting the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code requirements
ISD Hours of Operation:
1010 Mass Ave.
Monday - Friday:

   8:00am - 4:00pm
Thursday Evening:
Building Division Only
   8:00am - 7:00pm

Please note that the cashier closes 15 minutes prior to closing

City Calendar
City Calendar See a listing of inspectional services hearings.
Related Links
Get Adobe Reader
Many forms are available in PDF format. To view and print in PDF format, you must download and install the reader.

Get Adobe Reader
Text Size: XX-Small Font Size X-Small Font Size Small Font Size

Privacy & Security Divider © City of Boston