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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Food Safety at Markets

Markets offer a great selection of local food and are inspected by Public Health Inspectors to ensure food safety is maintained. Please read the information below. 

What is a Farmers' Market Food Vendor?

A farmers' markets food vendor is an operator of a stall or other food premise that is located at a central location at which a group of persons who operate stalls or other food premises meets to sell or offer for sale to consumers products that include, without being restricted to, farm products, baked goods and preserved foods, and at which the majority of the persons operating the stalls or other food premises are producers of farm products who are primarily selling or offering for sale their own products.1

What if I am not a Farmer's Market Food Vendor?

Food vendors that are not farmers' market food vendors can still operate at a market. 

If a market consists of greater than 50% of vendors who are farmers' market food vendors, then all vendors are exempt from Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17).2 However, food vendors are still responsible for providing safe food, including ensuring all food is from an approved source.3

Food vendors at all other markets must meet the requirements in Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17).


What should market organizers and vendors do?

Organizers must complete and send in the Notice of Intent for Organizers of Special Events / Markets form (PDF 96KB) at least 30 days before the event.

Market vendors who sell food must complete and send in a Notice of Intent to Operate as a Special Event / Market Vendor form (PDF 137KB) for each stand, tent, truck, trailer or food premises they are operating to the Middlesex-London Health Unit at least 14 days before the event.

Identify the:

  • Suppliers: these must be approved suppliers.
  • Food preparation location (if applicable).
  • Food items that will be offered.
  • Market dates and times.

Forms can be submitted by:

  • Mail: Middlesex-London Health Unit
    Attention: Environmental Health
    355 Wellington St, Suite 110, London, ON, N6A 3N7
  • Fax: (519) 663-9276, or
  • E-mail:


If you have questions about markets, please contact the Environmental Health Team at:


What should you do when at the market?

Food vendors must make sure they are set up to provide safe food. Please be aware that requirements from other agencies also need to be met (e.g. Fire Department, TSSA, municipality, AGCO).

Protect food from contamination

  • Protect unpackaged prepared foods from contamination using sneeze guards, covers, etc.
  • Store all food off the floor / ground. Raise foods on tables, shelves or pallets.
  • Bring tarps or tents to ensure all food products can be covered if it starts to rain.

Keep potentially hazardous food at safe temperatures

  • Ensure food temperatures are maintained during transportation.
  • Have enough refrigerators or coolers to maintain cold foods at 4oC (40oF) or less.
  • Have enough hot holding units to maintain hot foods at 60oC (140oF) or higher.
  • Have thermometers on-site to check the temperatures of foods and the temperatures of all cold and hot holding units.

Waste disposal

  • Dispose of garbage in a clean manner.
  • Dispose of waste water in a clean manner. Do not dispose of waste water on the ground or into a sewer.

If food handling or food sampling occurs on-site

  • Have a certified food handler on-site (where required; See Food Safety Laws & Legal Activities).
  • Have a handwashing station available where food handling is occurring. This should be set up before any food handling begins.
  • Have enough utensils:
    • to use separate utensils for raw and ready-to-eat foods.
    • to last the entire day or provide dishwashing on-site.
  • Have an approved sanitizer and matching test strips or reagent on-site.

See the Special Events Information Package (PDF 892KB) for an example of how to set up a temporary handwashing station and for dishwashing requirements.

Additonal Information

For more information about markets, please contact a Public Health Inspector on the Environmental Health Team at:

Date of creation: April 29, 2020
Last modified on: January 25, 2024


1Ontario. Ministry of the Attorney General. (2017). Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.R.O. 1990, Ontario Regulation 493/17: Food Premises. Retrieved from
2Ontario. Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2019, February). Operational approaches for food safety guideline, 2019. Retrieved from
3Ontario. Ministry of the Attorney General. (1990). Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7. Retrieved from