Food Safety Inspections - Information for People Working in Food Services

Chef Information on this page about food inspections will be of interest to people who work in the food services industry.

What is the purpose of food safety inspections?

Food safety inspections are conducted in food premises in Halton to reduce the possibility of foodborne illness and to educate food services staff about safe food handling practices and basic sanitation requirements.

For more information, please visit Information for the General Public .

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What regulations are followed for inspections?

Compliance inspections of food premises are carried out in accordance with Ontario Regulation 562, Food Premises Regulation, of the Revised Regulations of Ontario, 1990 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

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What are the food safety standards that must be met in order to pass inspection?

There are  7 groups of food safety standards that must be met in order to pass inspection. 

1) Food must remain free from contamination. 
2) Good food handling and hygiene practices must be followed. 
3) Food must be stored properly, at the right temperature. 
4) Garbage and waste must be handled and disposed of properly. 
5) There must be no sign of pests such as cockroaches or mice. 
6) Equipment and utensils must be cleaned and stored properly.
7) The premise must be well maintained and sanitary. 

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How often are inspections carried out?

Food premises are inspected at least once a year by public health inspectors. Premises are categorized as high, medium or low risk. The level of risk determines how often a premise is inspected. For example, a high-risk premise will be inspected three times a year. 

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What are high, moderate and low risk food premises?

High Risk food premises will be inspected 3 times a year. They are premises which:

  • Prepare hazardous foods (any food capable of supporting the growth of bacteria) – e.g., meat, poultry, fish, dairy
  • Serve a high risk population based on age or medical condition (elderly, children) 
  • Handle foods with many preparation steps and foods frequently implicated as causing food poisoning 
    • Examples include nursing homes, hospitals, day cares, full menu restaurants, and large banquet facilities. 

Moderate Risk food premises will be inspected 2 times a year. They are premises which: 

  • Prepare hazardous foods. 
  • Prepare non-hazardous foods with extensive handling or high volume.
    • Examples include fast food restaurants, bakeries. 

Low Risk food premises are inspected once a year. They are premises which: 

  • Do not prepare hazardous foods. 
  • Serve pre-packaged hazardous foods. 
  • Prepare and/or serve non-hazardous foods. 
    • Examples include convenience stores, food banks. 

A food premise, which is defined as low risk or moderate risk because of the type of facility it is (e.g., bakery, convenience store) can be ranked as high risk, if there are complaints  or evidence of  food poisoning linked to the food premise.

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Is there any food safety training offered by the Health Department?

Yes, the  Food Safety Education and Certification Program is offered to anyone in Halton who is interested in learning more about food safety. All people working in food services are encouraged to attend the training. Participants are primarily from the food services industry.

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Do I need approval for special events where food will be served or sold?

Yes. Anytime you are hosting a special event where foods are prepared, processed and /or sold to the public for eating either on or off-site, you require approval from the Health Department. 

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