The York Region Community and Health Services Department’s Food Safety Program ensures that York Region residents and visitors consume food that is safe to eat and that the food comes from an approved source. Under the Food Premises Regulation (Ontario Regulation 562/90, as amended), food must be prepared, stored and served in a manner consistent with acceptable public health practices.
Food Handler Training
We would like to recommend that Food for Learning volunteers complete the York Region Community and Health Services PROTON Food Handler Certification program. The one day workshop is offered to the Food for Learning participants a couple times a year free of charge.
PROTON is a food handling training program designed for anyone working in the food industry or anyone interested in learning about the basic concepts of food safety. This program is facilitated by certified Public Health Inspectors. Participants will learn how to reduce the risk of food-borne illness by understanding how to safely prepare, store and serve food.
Those who successfully pass the exam will become Certified Food Handlers, a designation that is recognized and valid throughout Ontario for five years.
For more information about PROTON and/or safe food handling (including educational materials and signs) or to speak with a Public Health Inspector, contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-252-9933.
Handling Food Safely
Follow these tips to prevent food-borne illness when handling food.
•Wash hands using the 6-step method after using the washroom, handling raw meats, taking out the garbage, etc.
•Do not handle or prepare food if you have cold or flu-like symptoms
•Properly confine your hair with a hairnet, cap, etc.
•Do not touch hair, face or other parts of the body with your hands and then touch food
•Ensure all items are washed and rinsed prior to being sanitized
•Use an approved sanitizer such as chlorine (household bleach at 5.25% chlorine), quaternary ammonia or iodine
•Use the proper sanitizer strength, such as mixing 2 mL (approximately ½ teaspoon) of household bleach (5.25% chlorine) with 1 litre (4 cups) of warm water to sanitize food contact surfaces
•Verify the correct sanitizing concentration with a sanitizer test strip. More information including where to purchase test strips can be obtained by calling York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-252-9933.
•Limit the amount of time food is left in the Danger Zone between 4ºC and 60°C (40°F and 140°F)
•Check internal temperatures of food using a clean and sanitized probe thermometer
•Cook hazardous food to the proper internal temperatures, such as eggs to 63°C (145°F) or higher
•Cool food as quickly as possible
•Reheat food products quickly to their original cooking temperatures, such as ham and pork products to 71°C (160°F) or higher
•Use thermometers for refrigeration units and freezing units
•Store high risk/hazardous food products such as eggs, cheese and milk products at 4°C (40°F) or lower
•Thaw food products in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave
•Keep frozen food products at -18°C (0°F) or lower
•Store all raw food products (meat, eggs, fruit [not bananas], vegetables and dairy products) in a refrigerator
•Store raw meats on bottom racks of refrigerators so that raw meat juice will not drip on other food items
•Cover and label all food products in refrigerators
•Avoid handling food with your hands; use tongs, ladles, lifters and scoops whenever possible
•Do not dip fingers into food or lick fingers
•Use proper “taste-testing” method; transfer a small portion of the food to be tasted to a bowl and use a separate clean utensil to taste the food; wash and sanitize utensil after use
•Provide separate cutting boards for different food items, i.e., one board for meats and one board for vegetables and fruit
•Wash, rinse and sanitize utensils, equipment, cutting boards and counters after use
•Check best before/expiry dates
•Ensure packaging is intact and cans are free of dents
•Rotate stock: first in, first out
•Do not accept or purchase dented/damaged cans
•Do not prepare program food at home
For more information on the food safety, the food premises disclosure system, healthy eating or any other health-related topic, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-252-9933 or visit www.york.ca/foodsafety