KFL&A Public Health is reporting an increased interest in people opening home-based food businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to starting a new business venture of this style, it is important to research the requirements of opening a food-related business in your home, Public Health said in a release dated Thursday, Jan 21, 2021. Public Health Inspectors at KFL&A Public Health can guide you through the process to ensure you are meeting the requirements and supporting you to achieve your business plans.
According to the release, food businesses, regardless of location (e.g., public or private (home) setting), must have an inspection conducted prior to opening to receive approval from public health and the local municipality. If starting a home-based food business, the kitchen must comply with the Ontario Building Code, the Ontario Fire Code, municipal zoning by-laws, and the Ontario Food Premises Regulation.
Food businesses that require inspection include restaurants, food retail stores, bakeries, caterers, food processors, and even home-based food businesses, Public Health said in the release. Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act a “food premises” means a premise 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 apply.
If you intend to operate a home-based food business, a notification must first be sent to KFL&A Public Health. The notification must be completed so a public health inspector can verify that the food prepared will be safe for consumption and that safety protocols are in place for staff, according to the release.
During operating hours, every food premises must have at least one person present who has their Food Handler Certification, according to the release. 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. KFL&A Public Health said they are here to assist you to ensure your business can operate safely and effectively.