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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Food Safety Laws & Legal Activities

View the provincial laws and municipal by-laws that apply to food safety. As well, learn about the types of legal activities Public Health Inspectors perform and their disclosure in Middlesex-London.

Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA)

The Health Protection and Promotion Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7) is a law in Ontario that gives local health departments the duty to carry out inspections in restaurants and other food premises.1 The Act sets out the broad terms for inspections and the powers of Public Health Inspectors.

Ontario Food Premises Regulation

The Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) is a provincial law that sets out the minimum standards that restaurants and other food premises in Ontario must follow.2 These standards are made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, are more specific, and use scientific research when they are made. 

This law was updated as of July 1, 2018 and requires that food must be processed enough to be safe and to be protected from contamination and adulteration. Some of the new requirements include: keeping records of pest control actions and receipts on-site, posting signage at the food premises as per a Public Health Inspector's request and ensuring a certified food handler is on-site where meal or meal portions are prepared, served or sold for immediate consumption.

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Food Premises Inspection & Mandatory Food Handler Certification By-laws

In the City of London and in Middlesex County local food safety by-laws have been created. 

These by-laws say a food premises must:

  • Post the most recent DineSafe inspection summary sign (green, yellow or red) on-site in a visible place. 
  • Make sure one certified food handler, who is supervising staff, is on-site when the food premises is open or operating. For more information on how to become a certified food handler, visit the Food Handler Certification Program.

Where / how can I read these by-laws?

The following by-laws can be viewed online: 

Each of the following municipalities, townships or villages in Middlesex County have similar by-laws. Contact the correct office for a copy of the by-law you want to view.

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Legal Activities

Public Health Inspectors are usually able to obtain compliance with food safety laws using the inspection and re-inspection process. However, where compliance cannot be achieved through this process, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act  (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7), Public Health Inspectors have the authority to issue offence notices (tickets), summonses, or orders to an owner, operator, food handler or corporation for non-compliance.1 Public Health Inspectors also have the authority to seize and destroy food.1

Offence Notices (Tickets)

Under the Provincial Offences Act  (R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33), offence notices (tickets) can be issued for each infraction (error) observed in a food premises. The set fines for non-compliance with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) range between $55 and $465,3 plus a victim fine surcharge and service cost.


A summons can be given instead of a ticket. A summons is a legal document that requires the person charged to appear in an Ontario Court of Justice regarding an infraction (error). The summons may lead to a trial date being set. During a trial, a Justice of the Peace will determine a fine or sentence if the person or corporation is convicted.


A Public Heath Inspector may make an order under Section 13 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act  (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7) where he or she is of the opinion, upon reasonable and probable grounds, that a health hazard exists, and the requirements specified in the Order are necessary to decrease the effect or to eliminate the health hazard.1

Orders may include, but are not limited to:

  • Closing a premises or part of a premises.
  • Cleaning or disinfecting of a premises.
  • Prohibiting or regulating the manufacturing, processing, preparation, storage, handling, display, transportation, sale, offering for sale or distribution of any food or thing.
  • Requiring the destruction of the matter or thing specified in the order.

Food premises may be issued an order to close for the following reasons,
but not limited to:

  • The premises is involved in a foodborne illness outbreak.
  • The premises has no potable (drinkable) water, or hot/cold running water.
  • A sewage back-up is present.
  • A fire or flood prevents food from being prepared or served safely.
  • Pest infestations exist (i.e. insect, rodent).
  • Overall sanitation problems are observed.

Seizing and Destroying Food

Under Section 19 of Health Protection and Promotion Act  (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7), Public Health Inspectors have the authority to seize and destroy food where in their opinion, upon reasonable and probable grounds, a health hazard may exist.

Food may be prevented from being sold (held) or thrown out (destroyed) in the following situations, but not limited to:

  • Foods do not come from an approved source or supplier.
  • Foods have been left sitting out at room temperature.
  • Foods are not kept cold in storage (i.e. foods in the refrigerator measure an internal temperature greater than 4oC (40oF)).
  • Foods are not kept hot before they are served (i.e. hot holding of foods measures less than 60oC (140oF)).

Disclosure of Legal Activities

Recent legal activities in Middlesex-London can be can be viewed on the Middlesex-London Health Unit's Disclosure website. Please note that seizing and destroying food will be indicated as "Product Seized & Destroyed" under the Actions Taken section on individual inspection reports (where applicable).

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Date of creation: January 21, 2013
Last modified on: January 4, 2023




1Ontario. Ministry of the Attorney General. (1990). Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7. Retrieved from
2Ontario. Ministry of the Attorney General. (2017). Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.R.O. 1990, Ontario Regulation 493/17: Food Premises. Retrieved from
3Ontario Court of Justice (2018, July 1). Schedule 41. Retrieved from