May 27, 2024

The Mississippi State Department of Health joins health departments across the nation to recognize National Public Health Week, April 1-7, 2024.
This annual observance highlights the importance of public health and its impact on communities here in Mississippi and nationwide.

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At the Mississippi State Department of Health, our commitment to Licensure, Certification and Environmental Health is paramount for protecting all Mississippians. We safeguard public food, water and milk, and we establish and enforce standards for licensed health professionals and healthcare facilities, ensuring the delivery of high-quality care and safety for all residents.

Environmental Health

Our Office of Environmental Health: touches every Mississippian and its visitors each day. Did you drink a glass or bottle of water today? Did you use milk for breakfast, cooking or coffee? Did you eat out at a retail food restaurant? Did you enjoy time outdoors free from the nuisance of mosquitoes and domestic wastewater? Here’s a look at the programs that make all this possible:

Bureau of Public Water Supply: Water Supply is tasked with ensuring that the federal and state Safe Drinking Water Acts are followed by all 1,100 public water supplies in Mississippi. The Bureau provides regulatory oversight and assistance by rule managers and regional engineers, regulatory analysis of drinking water samples using the Public Health Laboratory, support of Community Water Fluoridation, and special loan and grant programs to ensure that drinking water infrastructure is being adequately maintained. Water Supply also certifies drinking water operators and provides management training for public water system boards.

Food Protection: This program ensures that all 14,000+ Mississippi retail and manufactured food facilities follow the FDA Food Code as well as any applicable state regulations to safeguard the health of consumers. The plan review team works with all new retail locations to confirm that their design, construction materials, procedures and equipment all meet FDA standards. Food environmentalists perform risk-based inspections at least once or twice a year at restaurants, caterers and other food facilities as well as follow-up on public complaints to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks and provide visible A, B and C grades for the public to use in deciding where to eat.

Onsite Wastewater: While larger municipal and commercial sewer systems are managed by MDEQ, the MSDH Onsite Wastewater program ensures that individual domestic wastewater systems follow the Mississippi Onsite Wastewater law for proper design and installation to provide adequate treatment on the property. Wastewater environmentalists assess soil types and water tables in making system recommendations, as well as investigate complaints of failed wastewater systems. In addition, the program certifies system manufacturers, installers, and the septic pumping/hauling industry.

Milk and Bottled Water: The Milk program inspects and provides operating permits to dairy farms, milk haulers, and milk processing plants in Mississippi to ensure compliance with FDA requirements and the interstate Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. This allows Mississippi dairies to transport and sell their milk and milk products across state lines. Samples of raw and processed milk and milk products are collected and analyzed for safety and compliance at the Public Health Laboratory. Sensitive equipment at dairies and processing plants is inspected and sealed to assure sanitary requirements are met prior to use. Bottled water facilities are inspected for FDA compliance and licensed for operation.

Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety: From large steam boilers heating whole buildings to small compressed-gas cylinders carbonating soft drinks at fast-food restaurants, this program ensures that the thousands of pressure vessels in Mississippi are routinely inspected to prevent structural failure or gas releases that could result in commercial damage or human harm.

Institutional Services: Sanitation inspections are conducted annually by law at the state penitentiary at Parchman as well as at other state and privately owned correctional facilities who request inspections to maintain accreditation or assess facility performance. In addition, this program partners with federal agencies to conduct consumer product recalls in Mississippi to ensure that recalled items are removed from retail shelves.

Entomology: The state entomologist conducts field collection and analysis of disease-carrying pests such as mosquitoes and ticks to determine if and where potential disease outbreaks could occur, the effectiveness of pesticides and other methods of pest control, and what species of pests are currently active in Mississippi.

Licensure and Certification

Our Office of Licensure and Certification ensures that health facilities, health professionals, and car givers meet high standards of service and .

The Health Facilities Licensure Division licenses facilities catering to the healthcare needs of Mississippians, ensuring compliance with quality standards, and certifying participation in federal healthcare programs.

The Child Care Licensure Bureau regulates childcare facilities, youth camps, and in-home child care businesses, conducting inspections, offering training, and addressing complaints to uphold safety standards.

The Professional Licensure Bureau regulates 18 health-related professions, prioritizing citizen welfare by ensuring competent, safe and ethical service delivery.

Our Fingerprinting Unit processes comprehensive background checks for licensed healthcare, childcare and medical cannabis facilities, collaborating with state and federal agencies to ensure thorough vetting. These efforts underscore our dedication to maintaining the integrity of healthcare and childcare services, protecting the public’s health and safety.

At the Mississippi State Department of Health, the regulatory services are vital components of our mission to promote and safeguard public health. Through robust regulation, diligent oversight, and proactive environmental management, we strive to create a healthier and safer environment for all Mississippians.


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