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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Food Safety and the Workplace

The Middlesex-London Health Unit inspects food premises, including workplaces, to ensure food safety is maintained. The aim is to reduce, and more successfully prevent, foodborne illness from occurring.

Fast Fact

Approximately four million Canadians per year suffer from foodborne illness,1 with symptoms including stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever.

Impact on Workplace

  • Foodborne illness translates into money lost for employees due to illness and employers due to lost productivity.
  • Food premises are required to operate according to the minimum requirements of the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17) under the Health Promotion and Protection Act. This includes ensuring that:
    • Operators are following safe food handling methods related to temperature and time controls, cross-contamination prevention, pest control, hygiene and infection control, and sanitation.
    • There is at least one food handler or supervisor on the premise who has completed food handler training during every hour in which the premise is operating.
  • Public Health Inspectors routinely inspect food premises to ensure compliance with these requirements.

Inspections Disclosure

The Middlesex-London Health Unit has a disclosure program that provides the public with quick and easy access to the results of food safety inspections. Some workplaces (e.g. cafeterias) will have their results displayed under DineSafe, while other workplaces (e.g. child care centres, retirement homes) will be displayed under Other Food. Inspection criteria is the same, however, a DineSafe facility will have a colour coded sign posted at the food premises summarizing its inspection results while facilities under Other Food will not.

Making Positive Changes

Education and Skill Building

  • Ensure workplace food premises staff receive ongoing food safety training.
  • Have employees obtain Food Handler Certification by offering it on-site, or providing reimbursement to attend a course, or complete online course or self study options.

Environmental Supports

  • Ensure proper design and maintenance of the food premises.
  • Ensure compliance of the workplace food premises with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation (O. Reg. 493/17).
  • Ensure inspection reports are monitored regularly and that deficiencies noted on inspection reports are corrected.

Policy Considerations

  • Internal/external audits of the food premises.
  • Food handler training prior to employment in the workplace food premises.
  • Implementation of a HACCP Plan or a Preventive Control Plan, including temperature monitoring and logs. 
  • Establish a policy that food premises staff do not work when ill.
Date of creation: September 3, 2013
Last modified on: January 19, 2022


1Government of Canada. (2016, July 5). Yearly food-borne illness estimates for Canada. Retrieved from