Purpose of food safety inspections
Food safety inspections are conducted in food premises in Halton Region to:
- Reduce the possibility of food-borne illness
- Educate food services staff about safe food handling practices and basic sanitation requirements
Compliance inspections of food premises are carried out in accordance with Ontario Regulation 493/17: Food Premises under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Food safety standards
There are seven simple steps to compliance:
- Food must remain free from contamination.
- Good food handling and hygiene practices must be followed.
- Food must be stored properly, at the right temperature.
- Garbage and waste must be handled and disposed of properly.
- There must be no sign of pests, such as cockroaches or mice.
- Equipment and utensils must be cleaned and stored properly.
- The premise must be well maintained and sanitary.
Public health inspectors will inspect premises at least once a year. Premises are categorized as high, moderate or low risk. The level of risk determines how often a premise is inspected.
High, moderate and low risk
Inspections: 3 times per year
- Prepare hazardous foods (any food capable of supporting the growth of bacteria), such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy
- Serve a high risk population based on age or medical condition (e.g., elderly, children)
- Handle foods with many preparation steps and foods frequently implicated as causing food poisoning
- Nursing homes
- Day cares
- Full menu restaurants
- Large banquet facilities
Inspections: 2 times per year
- Prepare hazardous foods
- Prepare non-hazardous foods with extensive handling or high volume.
- Fast food restaurants
Inspections: 1 time per year
- Do not prepare hazardous foods
- Serve pre-packaged hazardous foods
- Prepare and/or serve non-hazardous foods
- Convenience stores
- Food banks
Note: A low risk or moderate risk food premise can be ranked as high risk, if there are complaints or evidence of food poisoning linked to the food premise.
Food safety training
The Halton Region Health Department offers the Food Safety Education and Certification Program to anyone 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.
Approval for special events
If you host a special event where foods are prepared, processed and/or sold to the public for eating either on or off-site, then you require approval from the Health Department.