Restaurant & Retail Food Regulations

New Food Code Regulations

All Food Establishments are covered under 105 CMR 590: State Sanitary Code Chapter X: minimum sanitation standards for food establishments. In 2018 Massachusetts updated their food code from the 1999 version to the 2013 FDA Model Food Code with the 2015 Supplement and some modifications. The town of Kingston is using this food code.

All food service establishments are required to keep a copy of this code on the premises.

Risk-Based Food Inspection

The Town of Kingston uses a Risk-Based Food Inspection Program. Risk-Based Inspections focus and prioritize 5 broad categories of risk factors that most often contribute to foodborne illness. Inspectors focus on evaluating the degree of active managerial control that an operator has over risk factors. They will spend the majority of their time observing the practices and procedures that are likely to lead to out-of-control risk factors. The program evaluates all facilities and rates them on the following factors:

  • Equipment and facility
  • Food Preparation and processing
  • Food safety management program
  • Management and employee food knowledge
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Sanitation and chemical concentrations
  • Types of Food and intended uses
  • Volume of food

Risk-Based Inspection Program

Risk-Based Inspections focus and prioritize 5 broad categories of "risk factors" that most often contribute to food-borne illness.

Risk Factors

They are the conditions, procedures, or practices that result in out-of-control food safety hazards. The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified 5 major risk factors that contribute to foodborne outbreaks.

  • Contaminated Equipment
  • Improper Holding Temperatures
  • Inadequate Cooking
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unsafe food sources

Using these 5 risk factors identified by the CDC, Kingston Health Department has developed 8 Critical Risk Factors that food inspectors will be focusing on during their inspection.

  • Cross-contamination
  • Food from an approved source
  • Personnel with infections restricted
  • Proper cooling and reheating of potentially hazardous food
  • Proper holding temperatures potentially hazardous food
  • Proper hygiene
  • Properly cooked potentially hazardous food
  • Wash, rinse, and sanitize

We encourage all food operators to have food workers certified in food handling to build a culture of food safety in front-line employees to help protect against food-borne illness and maintain good retail food practices. Updates will continue to occur with new information.

Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments

The Emergency Preparedness Committee of the Food Protection Conference created an Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments. The document includes how to prepare for interruption of water services, electrical services, sewage backup, contaminated water supply (biological), floods, and fire. This is a comprehensive resource that all establishments should use to create their emergency response plans.

Approved Allergen Certifications

Allergy Awareness: Please note that the Massachusetts Food Code 105 CMR 590.000 has been amended to included Allergy Awareness Requirements. Approved trainers are located on the Kingston website, only certificates from approved trainers are permitted. 

  • Compliance - To comply with 105 CMR 590.011(C)(3)(a), at least one certified food protection manager per food establishment must obtain an allergen awareness certificate from one of these three MDPH-approved vendors.
  • Online Training - To obtain an allergen awareness certificate over the Internet, visit a vendor's website, pay $10, and follow the instructions for watching the allergen awareness video.
  • Classroom Training - To obtain an allergen awareness certificate in a classroom setting, contact a vendor and ask for information about available classroom training.

Approved Vendors

The following two vendors are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to issue certificates of allergen awareness training in accordance with 105 CMR 590.011(C)(3)(a).

  • Berkshire Area Health Education Center
    1350 West Street
    Pittsfield, MA 01201
  • Options to be trained by Berkshire AHEC:
  • Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA)
    160 East Main Street
    Suite 2
    Westborough, MA 01581
  • Options to be trained by MRA:

Food SOP Templates

FDA and USDA created templates for food safety. This template is a complete package with procedures, logs, and references. It provides an organizational tool for businesses that helps to meet food safety requirements and build a food safety culture. A PDF and Word version are available. You can adapt the Word version to meet your establishment's needs and use your own logo.