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Farmers’ Market Vendor Health Inspection Report

A Guide to Understanding the Farmers’ Market Vendor Health Inspection Report

Food Source

Meat From Inspected Facility

Only meat that has been slaughtered at an inspected/ licenced facility can be offered for sale at the market. Meat must be packaged and labelled with the name of the product and the plant identification number. Vendors must have paperwork from the slaughter house available for review.


Eggs fall under the jurisdiction of other regulatory agencies. Public Health Inspectors will be ensuring that eggs are clean, free of cracks and visible contamination and are displayed at 4°C or lower.

Only Pasteurized Milk Sold

Any milk sold must be pasteurized – no raw milk. Milk and dairy products must be produced in an inspected facility and maintained at 4°C or lower.

Food Labelled

Labelling requirements for food fall under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). There may be specific requirements for various foods. Vendors are encouraged to contact the CFIA. Public Health Inspectors will be checking for labels on value added foods i.e. preserves, baked goods, meats and meat products. Information should include name of the product, the ingredients and where the food was produced (producers name and contact information), safe food handling instructions i.e. keep frozen, keep refrigerated, cook immediately. This information is important if a product is linked to an illness or is a part of a recall. A list of ingredients is essential for those with food allergies.

Food Storage

Samples Covered

If food samples are being provided, have minimum amount of samples on display and replenish frequently. Keep samples protected by covering them with food wrap, cake domes, mesh screen food covers.

Food Covered

Ready to eat foods other than produce need to be covered i.e. using food wrap, cake domes, covered bins, mesh screen food cover or display cabinets.

Canopy Over Display/Storage Areas

Tents, large umbrellas, pop-up gazebos are suitable as a covering over vender stalls to prevent contamination from bird droppings, dust and rain.

Food Off the Ground

To prevent contamination of food, do not store produce or other foods directly on the ground. Foods need to be in baskets, coolers, containers, bags that provide a clear separation between the food and ground.

Raw and Ready to Eat Foods are Separated

Raw foods such as meat are expected to contain bacteria that can make someone sick. Raw foods must be transported, stored and displayed separately from ready to eat foods, or foods that can be consumed without cooking to prevent cross -contamination.

Thawing/Cooling/Cold Holding

Cold foods cold (4°C or less)

Ways to keep cold food cold include insulated coolers with ice, mechanical refrigeration units, battery operated cooling devices. Provide a thermometer in each unit to ensure that it is maintaining the food at 4°C or less. Food must be kept cold during transportation, storage and display. If using a cooler, properly pack it with ice, and have additional ice to replenish it as the ice melts to prevent food temperatures from rising.

Frozen Foods (-18°C or colder)

Ways to keep frozen foods frozen include a mechanical freezer operated through a plug in or a generator. Insulated coolers can be used if well stocked with ice or dry ice. A thermometer in the unit will help to monitor the temperature. Frozen foods should be kept frozen during transportation, and while at the market. If using a cooler, properly pack with ice, and have additional ice to replenish as the temperature rises.

Sufficient Cold Holding Units Available

It is important not to over stock coolers or refrigeration units. Cooler lids should close tightly and have sufficient room for ice/ice packs to cover the food. If using a refrigerated unit, ensure that the unit is not overstocked as the cool air needs to be able to circulate around the food to keep it cool.

Food Preparation and Handling

Handwashing Facilities Available and Used

Where foods are being prepared and/or served (including food samples) at the market handwashing facilities are required. As a minimum, use a container with a spigot, filled with warm water, a supply of liquid soap, paper towels, and a receiving bucket to catch waste water. Handwashing facilities are not required for vendors selling prepackaged products or whole produce. Hand sanitizer does not take the place of handwashing but can be a good addition.

Proper Use of Gloves

Gloves are not a substitute for handwashing. Gloves should be changed as they become soiled. Hands need to be washed between glove changes using the handwashing facilities.

Sufficient Clean Utensils

Recommend as a minimum four (4) sets of utensils if preparing/serving food. Alternatively, three portable basins and a supply of clean warm water for utensil cleaning on site are needed. Utensils are to be washed in the first basin, rinsed in the second and sanitized in the third. If a plumbed-in water supply is available a two compartment sink may be used for cleaning utensils. A receptacle for waste water is also required.

Sanitizing of Surfaces

Use a spray bottle containing a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 4 cups of water. Wipe with paper towels or a clean cloth to sanitize food preparation surfaces.

Cooking/Heating/Hot Holding

Hot Foods Hot (60°C or greater) Sufficient Hot Holding Unit Available

Hot foods must be maintained at 60°C or higher while being transported, displayed, and/or served at the market. Acceptable hot holding units include chaffing dishes, crock pots, hot boxes. In order to maintain proper hot holding temperatures do not over fill your hot holding unit. Hot holding units are not meant to reheat or cook foods. The food should arrive at the market fully cooked unless cooking units are provided i.e. BBQ, portable stoves. A probe style thermometer must be available to monitor food temperatures.

Note: Other agencies have regulatory oversight and specific regulations for farm products. This document is only a summary of items the Health Unit will be assessing.