Guidelines for Special Event Food Premises
Planning a Special Event? Follow our guidelines if your event involves:
- Handling food
- Being open to the public
- Being hosted by an individual, group, business, or organization which is not recognized as a religious organization, service club or fraternal organization
Events that run more than 14 days a year must comply with the Food Premises Regulation of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. An inspector will enforce this act through routine inspections.
Completed by Event Organizers:
Completed by Event Food Vendors:
These special event guidelines will apply to your food event if:
There will be food or milk manufactured, prepared, stored displayed or handled in any way,
The event is open to the public,
The event is hosted by an individual or group of individuals, a business, or an organization, who are NOT recognized as a religious organization, service club or fraternal organization
The event is hosted by a religious organization, service club or fraternal organization, but is only held for 14 days per year or less (for example, a dinner that is held only once a month, or a fair that happens only once a year, for a two week period), if the hosting organization wishes to follow these guidelines.
(If an event occurs on more than 14 days per year, it is a “regular” event, and is required to be in full compliance with the Food Premises Regulation of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which is enforced through routine inspections by a Public Health Inspector.)
The operator/organizer must:
1. Notify the Brant County Health Unit of the dates, type of event and approximate number of attendance expected, 30 days prior to the event. Complete Appendix “A” and fax to the Brant County Health Unit at
519- 753-2140 or email to
2. Notify the Brant County Health Unit of all participating food premises, giving names, addresses and phone numbers, at least 14 days prior to the event. Complete appendices “A” and “B”.
3. Operator/organizer is responsible for providing:
Ensure all food vendors receive a copy of these “Special Event guidelines” and appendix “D.”
An adequate number of washrooms or sanitary facilities for the event.
An adequate number of garbage containers for the event, for arranging pick-up of garbage and for site clean up after the event.
Every Food Premise Operated at a Special Event
Must be inspected and/or approved for operation by the Brant County Health Unit prior to or during the event. (See tip #3 on below).
Must use only single service (disposable) articles for food and beverage service or sale.
Must be equipped with a supply of potable (drinking) water (20L) and a supply of hot water adequate for the operation of the premise. Mobile units must have hot and cold running water under pressure. Booths operated by local agencies may use a large coffee urn for hot water. Water must be arranged so that staff can wash their hands at the booth.
If used all hamburgers or sausages must be purchased pre-cooked from your supplier. This greatly reduces the risk of serving under cooked ground meat as they need to only be re-heated.
Premises Must Meet the Following Requirements
A. Physical Structure
1. Booth or concession must be enclosed on all four sides to prevent entrance into food preparation areas.
2. This enclosure must cover the area from the floor up to the countertops.
3. All food preparation, utensils, equipment, storage, etc., must be contained within this area. Barbecuing is allowed outside of booth provided this area is protected or fenced off from public access.
4. Floor: Must consist of a solid material (such as plywood) that will prevent accumulation of dirt, grease, etc. and can be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
5. Countertops: Must consist of a material that is smooth, impervious and can be easily cleaned and maintained.
6. Roof: A canopy or similar roof structure is required over all food service/preparation and storage areas (except BBQ area).
B. Equipment Required for Selling Hazardous Foods
1. A. Mechanical refrigeration must be capable of being maintained at 4°C (40°F) or less at all times.
B. Thermally insulated coolers are acceptable provided that ice/ice packs can maintain foods at a temperature of 4°C (40°F) or less at all times. All ice must be made from clean (potable) water.
2. Freezers must keep food at -18°C (0°F).
3. Each refrigerated unit and freezer must contain a thermometer to check the temperature.
4. Equipment must be supplied to maintain hot foods at a temperature of 60°C (140°F) or higher at all times.
5. Must be equipped with a designated hand sink, tub or bus bin along with soap and single service towels to facilitate washing of hands. Alcohol hand sanitizer may also be used
6. At least two sinks, tubs or bus bin and an approved sanitizer to facilitate washing of equipment and counter tops must be provided.
7. Provide a labelled plastic spray bottle or bucket containing a cleaner/sanitizer for cleaning/sanitizing work area. A solution of 1 L of water, plus 1 teaspoon of bleach (1tsp/L) is recommended. Diluted quaternary ammonia can also be used in place of the bleach and solution. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations.
C. Other Requirements
1. All equipment and utensils used for the preparation and serving of food must be of sound construction, in good repair and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
2. Adequate garbage receptacles with garbage bags/liners must be provided for each food area.
3. Liquid waste must be disposed of so that it does not cause a health hazard. Suitable equipment or facilities for the disposal of waste-water must also be provided. (e.g., Sewer hook-up or holding tank).
4. Area must be kept clean and free of debris.
5. All hazardous food (including meat, poultry, dairy products and cooked grains) must be maintained at less than 4°C (40°F), or greater than 60°C (140°F).
6. All frozen foods must be stored at a temperature of -18°C (0°F) or less.
7. a) All food shall be protected against contamination by the public, flies, dust, dirt
and insects. (Keep food covered at all times).
b) All cooking must be done in the booth away from the public. If cooking is done
at the perimeter of the booth, all foods must be protected from contamination by
placing a barrier of glass, plastic, or other suitable material in front of the food.
c) All displayed foods, condiments, etc. must be covered, wrapped, or stored in
proper containers with lids, so as to prevent any contamination.
8. All foods shall be handled with tongs, spoons, scoops, etc. whenever possible. Do not
use bare hands to handle food.
9. Foods transported to the site from another approved place of preparation must be transported at the temperatures outlined above and in a manner not conducive to spoilage or contamination.
10. If hazardous foods are prepared outside of Brant County, a letter of approval is required from the Health Unit that has jurisdiction, stating that the premise complies with Food Premise Regulations.
11. Milk or milk products must be pasteurized and dispensed from or served in the original container as received from the distributor.
D. Personal Hygiene and Sanitation
1. All food handlers must be clean, wear clean outer garments, and headgear that adequately confines the hair.
2. Smoking is not allowed in food preparation areas.
3. No person who is ill or has any abrasion, cut or other skin condition which may contaminate food shall work in a food concession.
4. Staff must wash their hands after any absence from the food preparation areas.
Cross-contamination is a major contributor to food borne illness. Cross-contamination can occur in three ways. They are as follows:
1. From a food to a food
2. From a utensil/surface to a food
3. From an infected worker to a food
Remember to do the following to prevent cross-contamination:
Use separate cutting boards when preparing raw meats and vegetables.
Use separate knives/utensils when cutting or scooping different foods.
Avoid contact between raw foods and cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
Use separate cloths for wiping food contact surfaces and keep dampened with a sanitizing solution.
Thoroughly clean and sanitize all equipment such as meat slicers, work tables, utensils etc.
Hand washing is the single most important way to prevent the spread of infection. Hand washing must be done thoroughly and often using soap and water. Remember to wash your hands before or after doing any of the following.
Before beginning work.
Before preparing food.
After handling raw meats/poultry.
After using the washroom.
After touching garbage or soiled surfaces.
Whenever your hands are dirty.
If any health hazard is found to exist during the operation of any food concession, the Health Unit may require the operation to close until the hazard has been corrected.
Contact us for further information about these guidelines
1. Hand sanitizers (alcohol-gel) may be used to sanitize hands where hand washing is not practical. Keep in mind these gels will not remove grease and dirt. That must be done by thorough hand washing with soap and water. Alcohol-gel hand sanitizers will only kill germs present on the skin if the hands are not dirty or greasy. Ensure the gel contains at least 70% ethyl alcohol (read the label to be sure). Thorough hand washing with soap and water is required by anyone preparing food. Hand sanitizers are not suitable in that situation.
2. Food handlers may wear gloves, but they must be changed when dirty or when changing tasks. Hands must be washed or sanitized after removing the old pair and before putting on the clean pair.
3. It is not required that there be a staff member certified in the Food Handler training course at your event, but it is recommended, especially if you are preparing food from raw meat. Please contact us for course information.
Appendix A, B and C to be completed by Organizers of Event and submitted to the Brant County Health Unit prior to the event.
Organizers Special Event Application
Organizers Site Map
Organizers Site Map
Special Event Vendor Checklist
To be completed by all vendors, and must be available on site at time of event.
The role of the Brant County Health Unit is to ensure the safety of the public at all special events with respect to foods served and prepared. Requirements fall under the Brant County Health Unit “Special Event Guidelines” and the “Ontario Food Premise regulation (O.R. 562)” under the Health Protection & Promotion Act.
It is the responsibility of the food vendor/operator to comply with all Regulations, Guidelines, and any other requirements set out by the Brant County Health Unit to ensure public safety is met.
Washing Station Handout
Smoke-Free Outdoor Events
As an event organizer, you must ensure all visitors comply with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. (SFO Act)
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act
The SFO Act prohibits smoking on restaurant and bar patios (including those at festivals and events) and within 20 metres of playgrounds and public sporting and spectator areas.
Your event must be smoke-free if:
- The area is open to the public, even if a fee is charged for entry.
- The area is worked in, or visited by, employees or volunteers.
- Food or drink is served, sold or offered for consumption, or the area is operated in conjunction with one where food or drink is served, sold, or offered for consumption.
- The area is not primarily a private dwelling.
Duties of Event Organizers
- Make sure visitors know your event is smoke-free. Promote it as such, and post appropriate signage.
- Educate volunteers and employees about smoke-free regulations.
- Discourage smoking at the event.
The SFO Act is enforced by Tobacco Enforcement Officers (TEOs) at the Brant County Health Unit. TEOs conduct routine inspections and investigate complaints.
Fines for smoking in a prohibited area range from $250 to $5,000. Fines for permitting smoking and not taking reasonable measures to ensure the event complies with the SFO Act can range from $300 to $300,000.
For More Information
Call the Tobacco Information Line at 519-753-4937 ext. 465, or visit
For a PDF copy of the complete Guidelines for Special Event Food Premises, please call us at 519-753-4937 ext. 470 or e-mail EnvironmentalHealth@bchu.org.