Health and Community Services

Food Safety Training

On May 1, 2020, a change to the Food Premises Regulations will take effect. The change will require owners/operators of certain types of food premises to have at least one employee who has current food safety training to be present in the food premises while it is in operation. Commonly asked questions and answers about this change are listed below.

In 2017, as part of the Way Forward, the Provincial Government committed to implementing “food safety training requirements for food service workers employed in commercial food service establishments.” This approach is in line with most other provinces and territories across Canada, and will help to ensure consumer safety.

Research has shown that food safety training for food premises managers and workers:

  • increases proper handwashing among food handlers;
  • decreases the number of deficiencies noted during public health inspections; and,
  • reduces the risk of foodborne illness outbreaks.

Questions and Answers

  1. What food premises will be required to have employees with approved food safety training?
  2. The requirement for food safety training applies to licenced food premises where food is handled, prepared or manufactured. Food premises where these activities occur will be notified in writing of the new training requirements. Some examples of these types of food premises include:

    • Restaurants
    • Take-outs
    • Grocery stores
    • Convenience stores where food is prepared
    • Gas stations where food is prepared
    • Butcher shops
    • Food manufacturing facilities (e.g. bakeries, dairy product manufacturers, meat packers/processors)
    • Mobile food premises (vehicles in which food is prepared for sale and service)
    • Licensed kitchens used by commercial caterers
    • Food premises where food is prepared for public institutions (schools, long term care facilities, hospitals)
    • Food premises in child care centres
    • Food premises in personal care homes
  1. What food premises will not be required to have people with approved food safety training present?
  2. The requirement for food safety training does not apply to the following food premises:

    • Premises already exempted under section 3 of the Food Premises Regulations, including:
      • Boarding houses and bed and breakfast operations
      • Farms selling their own fruits, vegetables, honey and/or grains
      • Home based food preparation industries
      • Temporary facilities
      • Not-for-profit organizations, where the kitchen is not licenced for use by commercial caterers
      • Drinking establishments that sell only non-hazardous foods in their original containers
      • Establishments as defined in the Fish Inspection Act
    • Premises where only cold drinks or frozen confections are sold in their original containers;
    • Catering vehicles in which food, other than hot beverages, is not prepared; and,
    • Premises where only pre-packaged food is stored or offered for sale.
  1. When will this requirement take effect?
  2. The requirement for food safety training in certain commercial food premises will take effect on May 1, 2020.

  1. Who will need to have food safety training?
  2. The owner/operator of a commercial food preparation premises must ensure that at least one employee with food safety training is present while the premises is in operation.  An employee can include the owner, the operator, or a food handler. While only one employee with current food safety training needs to be present, it may be more practical to have several or all employees trained in order to cover work shifts and/or employee absences. Having more employees with food safety training will also further protect customers.

  1. What food safety training courses will be approved?
  2. There are many approved online and in-person food safety courses. Before choosing a food safety course, please consult the full list of approved food safety training courses PDF Icon (40 KB). Please note that this list is subject to change and is provided for information purposes only.

  1. Is the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador offering its own food safety course?
  2. No, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador does not plan to offer its own food safety course. There are already many commercial food safety courses to choose from.

  1. How much does food safety training cost?
  2. Approved food safety courses are typically offered by private training companies and/or community colleges and vary in cost. Some food safety training providers may charge additional fees for examinations. Please check with the course provider about course and examination fees.

  1. How long are food safety training courses?
  2. Approved food safety courses are typically six to eight hours in length, and may be completed in one day or at your own pace (for online courses). Most courses require the successful completion of an exam. Check with the course provider about examination requirements.

  1. What if my food safety training course is not on the list of approved courses?
  2. If you already have a current certificate from a food safety course that does not appear on the list PDF Icon (40 KB), please ask the food safety training provider to contact the Department of Health and Community Services at (709) 729-4984 or HealthInfo@gov.nl.ca.

  1. Will the SkillsPassNL Food Safety Basics module meet this training requirement?
  2. SkillsPassNL (www.skillspassnl.com external link) offers a series of free online training modules on a variety of food safety topics. These short modules are helpful for quickly introducing or refreshing your memory about certain food safety concepts. However, they do not provide the in-depth food safety training required by the Food Premises Regulations.

    Owners and operators of food premises who wish to use SkillsPass for tracking employee food safety training from other course providers can do so by first contacting a member of the SkillsPass adoption team.

  1. Where can I find approved food safety training courses?
  2. Approved food safety training courses can be found online or from local food safety training providers. Please refer to the list of approved courses PDF Icon (40 KB). Also note that this list is subject to change and is provided for information purposes only.

  1. How many employees will need to have food safety training?
  2. At least one employee (owner, operator or food handler) with current food safety training must be present while the food premises is in operation. For this reason, it may be practical to have several or all employees with food safety training in order to cover work shifts and/or employee absences.

  1. How long is a food safety training certificate valid?
  2. Food safety training certificates typically expire after several years. Please check with the course provider about certificate expiry. Food safety training must be current, in accordance with course requirements.

  1. Who will be checking to make sure that employees have food safety training?
  2. During a routine inspection, an Environmental Health Officer with Service NL may ask to see proof that at least one employee with current food safety training is present. Keep training certificates on file for easy reference.

  1. Do I have to submit or display my food safety training certificates?
  2. No, you do not have to submit or display your food safety training certificates. Proof of training should be kept on file for the Service NL Environmental Health Officer to see during routine inspections. Proof of training can be either paper copies of certificates or electronic records of training, such as in an employee database.

  1. Who should I contact if I have more questions?
    • For more information about a specific food safety course, contact the course provider.
    • For information about food premises inspections, contact an Environmental Health Officer at the nearest Government Service Centre office (servicenl.gov.nl.ca).
    • If you have questions about a food safety course that is not on the list of approved courses PDF Icon (40 KB), contact the Department of Health and Community Services at (709) 729-3422 or HealthInfo@gov.nl.ca.
    • For more information about the Food Premises Act and Regulations, contact the Department of Health and Community Services at (709) 729-3422 or HealthInfo@gov.nl.ca.

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