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Massachusetts retail food regulations fact sheet

Massachusetts Chapter X (105 CMR 590.000) of the State Sanitary Code

In 2000, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) completed a major revision of its retail food and food service establishment regulation. The new document has two parts: the adoption of the federal 1999 Food Code and additional Massachusetts-specific regulations.

The adoption of the federal 1999 Food Code is the core of the regulation. The additional regulations are a supplement to the federal 1999 Food Code. The supplement includes definitions of terms, deletions of specific federal 1999 Food Code provisions, and inclusion of additional requirements that are not included in the federal 1999 Food Code.

What is the 1999 Food Code?

The federal 1999 Food Code , published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a document of food sanitation regulations for retail outlets (i.e., restaurants, grocery stores, nursing home kitchens, etc.).

Local, state and federal regulators rely on the FDA federal Food Code to develop and refine food safety regulations, while striving to achieve national uniformity. Many states as well as local-government jurisdictions have adopted the federal Food Code in its entirety. Presently, more than one million U.S. retail food establishments are regulated by the federal Food Code .

Why do I need a copy of the 1999 Food Code?

DPH determined that the appropriate method of revising the Massachusetts food regulation was to adopt the federal 1999 Food Code by reference, thus incorporating the entire federal 1999 Food Code into 590.000. Adopting by reference ensures that the Massachusetts regulation conforms to the federal standard.

Because the federal 1999 Food Code has been adopted as part of 105 CMR 590.000 and is the core of the regulation, it is required that you obtain a copy of the 1999 Food Code.

Why do I need a copy of the revised 590.000?

105 CMR 590.000: State Sanitary Code Chapter X--Minimum Sanitation Standards for Food Establishments includes regulations that are specific to Massachusetts. These regulations include requirements for special operations such as residential kitchens and mobile food units, and requirements about administration, licensing and enforcement.

These provisions are NOT included in the federal 1999 Food Code .

How do I obtain a copy of the 1999 Food Code?

Copies of the 1999 Food Code are available online on the FDA website.

The 1999 Food Code may also be ordered from National Technical Information Services (NTIS). For ordering options, call NTIS at (800) 553-6847 or (703) 605-6000.

  • To order online, visit the NTIS website
  • To order by mail, write to:
    National Technical Information Service
    U.S. Department of Commerce
    Springfield, VA 22161
  • The 1999 Food Code is also available for sale at:
    • Massachusetts State House
      State Book Store
      Room 116
      Boston, Massachusetts
      (617) 727-2834
    • Western Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
      436 Dwight St.
      Springfield, MA
      (413) 784-1376
    • Southeast District Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
      218 South Main St.
      Suite 206
      Fall River, MA
      (508) 646-1374

How do I obtain a copy of the 105 CMR 590.000?

Official copies of the revised 105 CMR 590.000 and the 1999 Food Code are available for sale at:

  • Massachusetts State House
    State Book Store
    Room 116
    Boston, Massachusetts
    (617) 727-2834
  • Western Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
    436 Dwight St.
    Springfield, MA
    (413) 784-1376
  • Southeast District Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
    218 South Main St.
    Suite 206
    Fall River, MA
    (508) 646-1374

An unofficial copy of 105 CMR 590.000 is available below.

Additional Resources for How do I obtain a copy of the 105 CMR 590.000?

When did the 105 CMR 590.000 go into effect?

October 1, 2000.

What are some of the significant changes in the regulation?

  • Detailed charts that provide specific time, temperature and humidity parameters for cooking meat and other raw foods derived from animals
  • Modification of time and temperature controls for cooking hamburgers and pork, as well as criteria for types of beef that can be served rare without a consumer advisory
  • Recommendations to food establishment managers on how to ensure appropriate food workers' health and hygiene practices, including provisions that prohibit bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat food
  • Requirements mandating that food-establishment managers are knowledgeable in the prevention of foodborne illness
  • Provisions for using "time" instead of "time and temperature" as a public health control
  • Safe handling instructions for retail operations that package meat and poultry
  • Modification of recommendations related to reduced-oxygen packaging to more clearly address Clostridium botulinum as a potential hazard in certain packaging processes
  • Methods food establishments may use to advise consumers of the increased risk of foodborne illness when ready-to-eat, animal-derived foods are offered raw or undercooked
  • Enhanced food safety protection for at-risk populations
  • Modifications in general administrative procedures
  • Modification of requirements for mobile food operations
  • Application of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) in routine inspections and variance requests

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