The Health Unit recognizes that COVID-19 has been tough financially on many of our citizens and that some people may have started a new home business that involves food to help make some extra money. For people who are thinking of opening a food-related business in their home, it is important to do your research before starting. Public Health Inspectors are available to help guide you through the process which may help prevent delays in opening and extra costs.
Food businesses (restaurants or in a home setting) must be approved not only by the Health Unit but by your local municipality. Those starting a home-based food business must have a kitchen that complies with the Ontario Building Code, the Ontario Fire Code, municipal zoning by-laws and the Ontario Food Premises Regulations.
Food businesses that require inspection include restaurants, food retail stores, bakeries, caterers, food processors and even home-based food businesses. Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act a “food premises” means a premises where food or milk is manufactured, processed, prepared, stored, handled, displayed, distributed, transported, sold or offered for sale. Whether you sell directly from home, deliver, or sell online these regulations still apply.
Anyone intending to operate a food premises must notify the health unit in which they wish to operate. A food premises cannot operate without prior approval from the Health Unit because we need to ensure that the food prepared will be safe for consumption and that safety protocols are in place for staff.
During operating hours, every food premises must have at least one person present who has their Food Handler Certification. While operating during COVID-19, there are extra rules for keeping the workplace safe, including actively screening all employees for COVID-19 before every shift, using personal protective equipment including masks and most importantly having a workplace safety plan. The Health Unit is here to help guide the opening and operating of food premises.