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The Sanitation Division of the Health Department was responsible for monitoring the quality of food products and their handling by those workers who sold or manufactured food products. The Department's duties included the physical inspection of dairy farms and the milk distribution process, as well as the monitoring of markets, restaurants, and other establishments that prepared and/or sold food and beverages.

The Department also was responsible for issuing operating permits to places that served or manufactured food products. The 1931 Annual Report listed the following types of establishments as being under the Department's purview: Restaurants, lunch counters, beer parlors, bakeries, candy kitchens, food factories, canneries, oyster packers, and drug store fountains. In the early years of restaurant inspection, the Department kept statistics on the ethnicity of the restaurants' owners.

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