Information & Resources

Food Facility Inspections

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

Understanding the Food Premises Inspection Process

Food premises such as restaurants, cafeterias, food stores, hospitals, daycare and nursing home kitchens, bakeries, meat shops, mobile premises and concession booths, etc. are regulated by the Ontario Food Premises Regulation.  These establishments are inspected by public health inspectors at a yearly frequency based on a risk assessment conducted on an annual basis. Risk Assessment Ratings:

There are three categories of risk levels: high, moderate and low.  The risk assessment considers:

  • the type of operation
  • the population served
  • the amount of handling and preparation of food involved
  • if the premises is in compliance with regulations
  • if they are committed to training food handlers, and incorporating food safety plans into their operation

A year-round food premises is then assigned a risk level which determines the minimum number of inspections per year.  A high risk food premises requires a minimum of three inspections, a moderate risk food premises requires a minimum of two inspections, and a low risk food premises requires at least one inspection.

Seasonal food premises open for 6 months or less regardless of their risk rating require one inspection.

Please note that foods prepared in private homes are not inspected, therefore, no inspection reports will be available.

During each inspection the public health inspector examines and evaluates the following:

  • How food is handled, prepared, cooked, cooled, stored and served
  • Refrigeration and hot holding of food
  • The sources of food
  • The level of sanitation throughout the establishment
  • The condition of equipment
  • Dishwashing
  • Pest Control
  • Storage of chemicals and cleaners
  • Public areas such as washrooms and the dining room
  • Maintenance of the entire establishment
  • Safety of the water supply
  • Sewage disposal
  • Garbage disposal

After the inspection is completed, areas of non-compliance are discussed with the operator and staff, and strategies for correction are determined.  Corrections may be made during the inspection.  Education of staff on food safety issues during the course of the inspection are also carried out by the inspector in an effort to attain long term compliance.   Where infractions are identified and the issue cannot be corrected by the end of the inspection, a date for re-inspection may be set. In cases where a health hazard exists enforcement actions may be taken.

How to Interpret the Food Disclosure Report

The Food Disclosure Report indicates the conditions observed on the day of inspection under the categories as explained below. The report will indicate the category and whether or not the premises is “in compliance” with requirements that fall under that section, or if they “require improvement”. If an infraction was identified during the inspection and corrected while the inspector was on site, the category will be marked “in compliance” In some food premises some categories may not apply, and in these cases the inspector will assign a “N/A” (not applicable) designation.

Refrigeration and Freezer Temperatures

Cold temperatures slow down the growth of disease-causing organisms. 

To achieve compliance in this category food premises operators must ensure that except for the time required for preparation, cooking and hot holding, potentially hazardous foods must:

  • Be refrigerated at temperatures of 4ºC or lower
  • Be frozen at  temperatures of -18ºC or lower
  • Cooked foods to be stored in the refrigerator are cooled quickly
  • Freezers and refrigeration units must have indicating thermometers

Cooking/Hot holding Temperatures

Heat destroys harmful organisms. To achieve compliance in this category food premises      operators must:

  • Measure the internal temperature of food using a thermometer to ensure that the proper cooking, reheating and hot holding temperatures are reached and maintained
  • Foods held for service are kept hot at a minimum temperature of 60ºC
  • Cooked foods that were in cold storage are reheated quickly to the proper temperature

Food Protected from Contamination

Food can become contaminated with disease causing organisms, chemicals, or items that do not belong in food.  Cross contamination of food that is ready to eat, is a common cause of foodborne illness. To achieve compliance in this category, food premises operators must ensure:

  • Appropriate utensils are used to reduce hand contact with food
  • When utensils cannot be used, foods are handled with properly washed hands
  • Raw foods are stored separately from ready to eat foods
  • Foods are covered, labeled and stored off the floor
  • Raw foods that are likely to drip must be placed in an adequate sized container and placed below ready to eat foods.
  • Chemicals are stored separately from food
  • Hot and cold running water under pressure and hand wash sinks are available and used

Utensils and Equipment Properly Cleaned and Sanitized

Properly cleaned and sanitized equipment and food contact surfaces prevent the spread of disease causing organisms that can cause foodborne illness.  To achieve compliance in this category food premises operators must:

  • Provide food dispensing utensils for use by customers
  • Properly store and dispense clean utensils (re-useable and single service).  Ensure dishes and utensils are properly washed and sanitized either manually or using mechanical dishwashing equipment that is operating properly
  • Ensure food contact surfaces are in good repair; cleaned and sanitized correctly
  • Ensure wiping cloths are sanitized

Food Handler Hygiene (including handwashing)

Disease causing organism can spread to food from food handlers when they are sick or practice poor personal hygiene habits, and may result in a foodborne illness.  To achieve compliance in this category operators of food premises must ensure they and their staff:

  • Wash their hands properly and frequently
  • Wear clean clothing, aprons and hair restraints
  • Remain at home when sick
  • Not smoke while handling food

Premises Cleaned and Properly Maintained

A well maintained food premises consists of floors, walls, ceilings, shelving and counter tops that are smooth tight and readily cleanable.  Regular and thorough cleaning reduces the spread of disease causing organisms and prevents pest infestations.  To achieve compliance in this category operators of food premises must:

  • Ensure floors, walls, ceilings are kept in good repair and clean
  • Hand washing sinks are stocked with liquid soap and paper towels
  • Food contact surfaces such as cutting boards  are in good repair and can be cleaned and sanitized
  • Lighting and ventilation are adequate
  • Approved pest control measures are in place
  • Garbage and liquid wastes are disposed of properly

Certified Food Handler on Staff

Well trained food handlers are an asset for any food premises.  A certified food handler is someone who has completed an approved safe food handling course and has passed a written exam with a minimum grade of 70%.  While the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care encourages operators of high and moderate risk food premises to have at least one certified food handler on staff per shift, it is not a regulatory requirement.   This category indicates if the premises has staff with this credential, on site at time of the inspection; absence of a certified food handler does not mean out of compliance. For information regarding approved Food Handler Certification Courses please visit our web site at

Although the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit strives to ensure the accuracy of information recorded on the inspection report, we cannot provide an absolute guarantee with regards to accuracy or completeness.  We will not be held liable for the use of any information that is accessed thru this disclosure system or any losses or damages, including loss of profits that may result from the use of this information.  Food Disclosure Reports are merely a reflection of conditions observed at the time of inspection and are not an endorsement of any one establishment over another.