Food Safety Regulations for Churches and Other Places of Worship

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What you need to know about Ontario Regulation 493/17: Food Premises

Most churches and religious organizations that prepare and serve meals for their members and to the general public during occasional special events are exempt from the Food Premises regulation and are not required to be routinely inspected by the Health Unit. However, to maintain your eligibility for exemption, you still must comply with the following:

  1. Notify the Health Unit about a special event where food is being served.
  2. Post a Notice to Patrons at the entrance stating the food has been prepared in uninspected kitchens.
  3. Keep a list of all persons who donate potentially hazardous foods to the special event.
    • This list should include the name, address, and telephone number of the donors. 
    • You must provide a copy of this list to a public health inspector if requested.

What kinds of events are NOT exempt from the regulation?

Churches or religious organizations that operate food banks, dinners for seniors, soup kitchens, or offer catering services on a regular basis (e.g. once per month) are NOT exempt from the regulation and must comply with all parts of Ontario Regulation 493/17: Food Premises. This includes having routine inspections and having at least one certified food handler on site during operating hours. 

Use the following chart to determine if you are EXEMPT from Food Premises Regulation requirements or not. If you are offering food or kitchen services that fall under the “non-exempt” category, you must inform the Health Unit using the online information form below.


  • Occasional fundraising events (few times per year)
  • Bake sales
  • Special events (Annual themed/holiday event)
  • Coffee and refreshments after church services


  • Food banks
  • Soup kitchens
  • Dinners for seniors
  • Catering Services
  • Kitchen rented out for food businesses
  • Church members regularly preparing and selling food on-site. Please note: foods prepared at home to be sold to the general public at the church is NOT permitted
  • Large special event for many days (e.g. Carrousel of the Nations)

Online Information Form

If you are offering non-exempt food services, please provide the following information to the Health Unit. Note: If you only offer services that are exempt and do not provide any non-exempt services, you do NOT need to fill out this form.