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Special Events and Farmers’ Markets

Do Food Vendors Selling Food at Special Events and Farmers’ Markets Have to Meet Any Specific Food Safety Requirements?

Although food vendors sell or serve food for limited time periods, temporary food set ups can be challenging because they operate in the open air and often do not have water and power available. Food still needs to be kept at safe temperatures and protected from contamination. All food vendors are required to notify the Health Unit that they are attending these venues and provide information on how they will be preparing and handling food.

Special Events

What Requirements Do I Need to Meet If I Am Organizing a Special Event or I Am a Food Vendor at the Event?

Most food vendors are not exempt from the Ontario Food Premises Regulation. The following resources have been developed to help you handle food safely at special events:

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ Market Notification

Ontario Regulation 493/17 Food Premises exempts certain farmers’ markets from being subject to compliance with the regulation.  In order to grant an exemption the Ministry of Health requires Health Units to:

  • Request initial verification from each farmers’ market board/manager to assess whether an exemption applies. This assessment includes reviewing an inventory of all vendors including non-food vendors signed up for the market for the current season.
  • Grant an exemption from the Ontario Food Premise Regulation to a farmers’ market if greater than 50% (51%) of the vendors are producers of farm products who are primarily selling or offering for sale their own products intended for use as food. Compliance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act will still apply to ensure the safety of food for sale at the market.

By filling the Farmers’ Market Notification form you are fulfilling your regulatory duty to notify the Health Unit of operation and of the vendors that will be attending your Farmers’ Market this coming season. 

Upon receiving notification the Health Unit will conduct an assessment to determine if your market is eligible to receive the exemption and will provide communication back to you market board.

What Requirements Do I Need to Meet If I Am a Vendor at a Farmers’ Market?

All food vendors are required to notify the Health Unit of their intent to operate a booth at a farmers market. The following Compliance Checklist for Vendors is to be used in conjunction with A Guide to Understanding the Farmers Market Vendor Health Inspection Report. Submission of this completed form will serve as notification to the Health Unit.

If the farmers’ market you attend meets the definition of a farmers market you are exempt from the Ontario Food Premises Regulation; however you are still required to meet basic food safety requirements including:

  • Protecting food from contamination
  • Keeping food at safe temperatures
  • Providing a handwashing station
  • Selling products that meet regulatory requirements
  • Labelling value added food products

The following resources outline ways you can meet food safety requirements:

Church Groups and Service Clubs

What Requirements Do I Need to Meet If I Am Holding a Church Supper or a Food Event Organized by a Service Club?

Church Exemption from the Ontario Food Premises Regulation.

Church groups and service clubs have been given an exemption from the Ontario Food Premises Regulation. However serving safe food at your event is still important because you do not want to make your guests sick. In order to obtain the exemption, you need to do the following:

Requirements for Groups Exempt from the Ontario Food Premises Regulation for Special Events