Health Department FAQs
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Food Service FAQs
Food samples intended for analysis of microbial pathogens are sent to the State Laboratory Institute, operated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Please do not bring food to the Health Department; we don't need the food itself but we do need to know the establishment at which you dined, what you ate there, and the time you ate it. We will ask you what you ate for the entire day as well.
We will also ask you to contact the restaurant to inform them. This is important because they need to be aware and discard the food that is suspicious as soon as possible.
Once we have a complaint, the department will do an inspection. If we get three cases of foodborne illness from one site during a short time period, we will contact the Commonwealth so that they can investigate further; they'll look into the source of the food if there are multiple complaints and concerns of an outbreak of a foodborne illness.
* A written alternative Operational Procedure explains in detail how you would handle food and why you need to do it in that way. The procedure need to be approved by the Board of Health to see if it meets the requirements of the food code.
A separate hand wash sink is designated for only hand-washing practices. This is important for reducing possible hand contamination in either a three-bay sink or a mop sink. In addition, a hand-wash sink must be conveniently located in the food production area to make hand washing available. In addition, another hand-wash sink must be located in or adjacent to the restroom.
Landlord / Tenant FAQs
Tenants’ Guide to Going Smoke-Free (PDF)
Secondhand smoke is not just a nuisance. It’s a health hazard, and it is dangerous. But there are things you can do. Report smoking in common areas:
- Under Massachusetts state law, smoking is prohibited in the common areas of any multi-unit building that has one or more employee. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program at 800-992-1895 or 617-624-5116.
Talk to your landlord about implementing a smoke-free policy in your building:
- A packet of information that you can give to your landlord is available in the Resources section of this site.
- Smoke-free policies are 100% legal. Just like landlords can prohibit pets, they can prohibit smoking.
- Smoke-free policies are not discriminatory. Smokers are not a protected class. There is no right to smoke!
- Landlords can still rent to smokers, so long as the tenant follows the smoke-free policy.
For people with disabilities, find out if you have legal protection from secondhand smoke:
- Tenants who have qualifying disabilities may have legal protection from secondhand smoke under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. Find more information on how the Fair Housing Act applies here (PDF) (provided by the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project).
Take legal action:
- Legal remedies may be available. There are ways tenants can bring legal action under what is called “common law” against a landlord or against tenants who smoke. These theories include: breach of covenant of quiet enjoyment, negligence, nuisance, breach of warranty of habitability, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass, and constructive eviction. Pursuing these remedies can be costly and time-consuming.
Content from makesmokinghistory.org.
In most cases, a landlord or property manager is required by law to “maintain the dwelling they own without insect infestation” (MA: 105 CMR 410.550). It is the landlord’s responsibility to respond to any complaints of bed bugs.
If someone is renting a single-family home, the owner is not responsible for extermination as long as they maintain upkeep of the home. In these cases the occupant is required to pay.
If you are a tenant, contact your landlord so that they can hire a licensed exterminator to identify the insect and develop an extermination plan or Integrated Pest Management Plan to eliminate them.
Miscellaneous Health Department FAQs
Not necessarily. Your first step is to determine whether or not your septic system is in failure. This is accomplished by a septic system inspection.
If you have a septic system, the realtor involved should recommend that you get a Title 5 and provide you with a list of contractors who can do the work. The Health Department will need to witness the Title 5 test and make sure the system is in compliance with the Department of Environmental Protection Title 5 code.
You can find additional information about Title 5 here.