The Watertown Health Department is charged with the enforcement of the Massachusetts Food Code, which includes Chapter X of the State Sanitary Code 105 CMR 590.000 and the 1999 Federal Food Code. Locally, we have enacted a Managers in Food Safety (PDF) Regulation and Grease Trap (PDF) Regulation for food establishments. We are the designated regulatory for all retail food establishments (selling/offering food directly to consumers) in Watertown.
Caterers from outside Watertown are required to register with the Health Department to describe how food will be safely transported and served. Applicants need to complete this Temporary Food Event Application (PDF) and review the Temporary Food Event Guidelines (PDF).
Temporary Food Events
If you wish to operate a temporary food establishment for an event, please contact the Health Department and speak with a Health Officer at least 2 weeks prior to the event to discuss the review and approval process for selling/offering food at the event. The applicant must complete this Temporary Food Event Application (PDF) and review the Temporary Food Event Guidelines (PDF). A Health Officer may inspect the temporary food event to ensure food is safely transported, prepared, and served at the event.
Opening a New Food Establishment
If you wish to open a retail food establishment, food service establishment, or catering establishment in Watertown, please contact our office and speak with a Health Officer. Applicants need to complete a Food Establishment Plan Review Application (PDF). The annual permit fee (PDF) is based on the size and the type of operation.
Food Service Permits
Establishments who process, prepare, and serve food. Each establishment is inspected biannually or more for compliance with federal, state, and local food codes. New applicant must complete the Plan Review Application process to receive a permit.
To renew a food service establishment permit the applicant must complete this Food Establishment Renewal Application (PDF) and submit the following certifications: Certified Food Protection Manager, Food Allergen Awareness Certification, and Anti-Choke Certification.
Retail Food Permits
Establishments who retail commercially pre-packaged foods where there is no food preparation. These establishments are inspected annually for compliance with federal, state, and local food codes.
To renew a retail food establishment permit the applicant must complete this Food Establishment Renewal Application (PDF).
Mobile Food Permits
Mobile food kitchens, canteen, snack and ice cream trucks are licensed for the calendar year and are inspected pre-operation and during operation for compliance with federal, state, and local food codes.
To apply for a permit the applicant must complete this Mobile Food Vehicle Permit Application (PDF) and submit the following: permit fee, a copy of a menu with correct Consumer Advisory and Food Allergen Awareness language, a copy of the Hawker's/Peddler's license, a copy of the propane permit (if cooking and using propane on the vehicle), the commissary/base of operations permit, the agreement for use of commissary/base of operations, Certified Food Protection Manager Certificate, Food Allergen Awareness Certificate, Ice Cream Truck Permit (if retailing ice cream), and laboratory results for frozen dessert (if the vehicle manufactures frozen dessert, ice cream, or frozen yogurt).
All applicants must complete the application, submit the required documentation, and complete a Health Department inspection prior to receiving a permit to operate and serving food in Watertown.
Massachusetts allows its residents to operate home-based businesses to produce low-risk foods, such as cakes, cookies, breads, and confectioneries. To apply for a permit the applicant must complete this Residential Kitchen Application (PDF) and submit the following: permit fee, a copy of Certified Food Protection Manager, Food Allergen Awareness Certification, a sketch of the kitchen floor plan, and a copy of a label. Refer to the MA Department of Public Health label brochure for labeling guidance. Also refer to the MA Department of Public Health Residential Kitchens Questions and Answers
To file a complaint against a food establishment in Watertown, please contact the Health Department by telephone or email.