1) Does every person in a food premises have to be certified?
- Not every food handler has to be certified. By-laws in the City of London and in Middlesex-County require that at least 1 certified food handler be on-site at all times, where hazardous foods are prepared. As of July 1, 2018, under the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) there is a requirement for every food service premises to have at least one food handler or supervisor on-site who has completed food handler training. This is the minimum standard; it is recommended that more people be certified.
2) Is Food Handler Certification mandatory?
- As of October 1, 2011, for the City of London and January 1, 2012 for Middlesex-County there is a by-law requirement that all premises that prepare hazardous food have a least 1 certified food handler on-site at all times in a supervisory position. As of July 1, 2018, under the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) there is a requirement for every food service premises to have at least one food handler or supervisor on-site who has completed food handler training.
3) Who has to take the food handler course? Who needs to be a certified food handler?
- Local by-laws require that there be at least 1 certified food handler on-site at all times in a supervisory position, in all premises where hazardous food is prepared. The Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) requires that every food service premises have at least one food handler or supervisor on the premises who has completed food handler training. Ideally all staff who work with food should be certified food handlers.
4) What does supervisory position mean?
- The person who is on-site and in charge of making the food safety decisions is the supervisor at the time and the one who should be certified. This does not mean you have to have the job title of supervisor or manager. If there is only 1 food handler working, that person must be certified.
5) What does food service premises mean?
6) What does hazardous food mean?
- A hazardous food is one that is capable of supporting the growth of pathogenic organisms or the production of the toxins of such organisms.
7) What does preparation of hazardous foods include?
- Preparation of a hazardous food includes any process where foods are combined, cooked, reheated or changed in form (e.g. to cut, slice or chop) where the final product would be considered a hazardous food.
8) If there is no certified food handler on site, what are the consequences?
- Since the certificate is mandatory, legal action can be taken by a Public Health Inspector. If a Provincial Offences Notice (ticket) is issued, the fine is $150 + administration fee (local by-law) or $305 + administration fee (O. Reg. 493/17).
9) Sometimes we prepare food, other times we are service only. Do we always need to have a certified food handler on-site or only those times when we are preparing food?
- If you are required to have a certified food handler on-site, you need a certified food handler on-site anytime you are operating (whether food is being prepared at the time or not). The Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) requires every food service premises to have at least one food handler or supervisor on-site who has completed food handler training during every hour in which the premise is operating. The by-laws require that for premises that prepare hazardous foods, that there always be a certified food handler on-site who is supervising the preparation, storage, and service of food.
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10) Is there a test as part of the food handler course?
- Yes. In order to get your certificate, there is a test. It is 50 multiple choice questions. In order to get your certificate, you need to get 70% on the test.
11) What happens if I don’t pass my food handler test?
- Please contact your course provider to discuss rewrite options.
12) I am concerned about the test itself, are there other options for getting certified?
- Please contact the London Training Centre (or another provider) to discuss any needed accommodations.
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13) How long is the certificate good for? How often do I have to recertify?
- Certificates are good for 5 years from the date of issue. Most certificates will have an expiry date printed on them, even if they do not, they still expire 5 years from the date of issue.
14) Do I have to carry my food handler certificate with me?
- By-laws in the City of London and in Middlesex County require that there be at least 1 certified food handler on-site, where hazardous foods are prepared, and that they have their certificate available when requested by a Public Health Inspector. Suggested practices include: having copies of certificates in a binder on-site, posting copies of the certificates, or keeping a copy of your certificate in your wallet.
15) Do I have to post my certificate?
- You do not need to post the food handler certificate. If you are the certified food handler as required by the local by-laws, you will need a copy on-site, but it could be a photocopy in a binder as long as it is available when requested by the Public Health Inspector.
16) I have a certificate from another organization, how do I know if it is acceptable in Middlesex-London?
17) I have lost my certificate. How do I get another copy?
- For certificates issued by the Middlesex-London Health Unit (through MLHU or the London Training Centre), before November 2022, please email email@example.com. For certificates issued after November 2, 2022, please contact the London Training Centre. If the lost or misplaced certificate was issued by another course provider (e.g. TrainCan Inc.), please contact the course provider directly.
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