Food Safety

food temperaturePublic Health Inspectors play an important role in ensuring the safety of all food that is sold and distributed through food premises. Public Health Inspectors conduct inspections of public eating establishments on a routine and a complaint basis.

Any facility or location where food is prepared, stored or served to the general public is considered a food handling establishment. This includes restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, butcher shops, delicatessens, catering facilities, take-outs, mobile vending carts, farmers markets and temporary food events at fairs or festivals.

Food Premises are inspected on a regular basis to ensure compliance with the Food and Food Handling Establishments Regulation under The Public Health Act. Inspections determine if minimum standards and practices are being followed with respect to general food handling, storage temperatures, sanitation, employee hygiene and equipment or food contact surface disinfection procedures for the specific type of processes and foods involved.

Public Health Inspectors pay particular attention to ensuring that food is protected from possible contamination by chemicals or microorganisms and that adequate temperature controls are in place during the heating, cooling and storage of potentially hazardous foods. The general sanitary and physical condition of the premises is also evaluated.

Please remember anyone wishing to prepare and sell food to the public must apply for a food service establishment permit before opening. If you are opening a new food service establishment or changing ownership of an existing business, please complete the Food Handling Permit Registration Form PDF and forward with your restaurant menu and a detailed floor plan to your district public health inspector.

Emergency Action Plans for Food Establishments

In the event of an imminent health hazard involving interruption of electrical service, water service, contaminated water supply, fire, flood or sewage back up at a food service establishment the following actions should be taken:

  • Assess the situation. Immediately discontinue operation if a safe operation cannot be maintained. 
  • Notify the Public Health Inspector of the imminent health hazard and discuss alternate procedures to be used. Determine if the issue is widespread.

Follow the Appropriate Emergency Procedures if approved by the Public Health Inspector or remain closed until granted approval to re-open by the regulatory authority. A food establishment that was ordered or otherwise required to cease operations may not re-open until authorization has been granted by the regulatory authority.

Bottled Water and Water Vending Machine Guidelines

Under The Public Health Act regulations, the operators of Water Bottling Plants or Water Vending Machines must obtain regulatory approval to process and sell water for domestic purposes. These types of facilities must be designed, operated and maintained in a sanitary manner to ensure that water does not become contaminated and pose a risk to
Public Health.