Main Page Content

A carnival at night with people, games and a ferris wheel.

Requirements for Fairs, Festivals, and Special Events:

The Health Unit requires all food vendors to complete a Food Vendor Application form and submit it to us 30 days before the event. If you're planning on attending more than one event, an application form is required for each event. 

Applications can be printed off our website, or you can call us at 519-258-2146 ext. 1450. 

One of our Public Health Inspectors will inspect your event to make sure that you're following the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 562. When there's an immediate risk to the public’s health, you will not be allowed to operate until the health hazard is eliminated.

Is Your Event Exempt?

There are special events that are exempt from the Food Premises Regulation (O.Reg.562/90).

Exemptions apply to:

Food premises owned, operated, or leased by religious organizations, service clubs, and fraternal organizations, where these organizations:

  • Prepare and serve meals for special events.
  • Conduct bake sales.

If you believe your event is exempt, contact us for confirmation and we will provide you with an exempt operators package.

If you're exempt, you'll need to:

  • Submit a list of donors providing potentially hazardous (unsafe) foods.
  • Post a public notification sign (provided by us), showing that your booth was not inspected.

Notification Procedure

Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990, you must notify us when food will be offered to the public at a special event. The following information will provide you with the special event guidelines in accordance with the requirements of the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 562, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Submit your filled out special event organizer application and the food vendor applications to us no later than 30 days before the event. Applications can be printed off our website, or you can call us at 519-258-2146 ext. 1450. Filled out applications can be sent to our Windsor Office by mail or fax

Once we receive the applications, one of our Public Health Inspectors will review it and may contact you if they have any questions.

Organizer Responsibilities

As an event organizer, you are responsible for:

  • Submitting a site plan with the application, outlining the location of food booths, hand wash stations, garbage receptacles, dishwashing station, water supply, waste water disposal and sanitary facilities. Include a list of all food vendors.
  • Distributing the application form and requirement package to food vendors.
  • Making sure food vendors send their application forms to us at least 30 days before the event.
  • Choosing a site location where the land is dry and well drained.
  • Making sure each food booth has proper flooring (i.e. plywood). Raised flooring is strongly recommended.
  • Making sure a potable water supply is provided.
  • Making sure the required number of handwashing sinks are provided.
  • Making sure hot and cold or tepid water is provided for handwashing sinks.
  • Arranging for proper disposal of garbage and waste water at the designated site.
  • Making sure sanitary facilities are maintained in a sanitary condition and are provided with handwashing sinks stocked with liquid soap and paper towels.
  • Making sure there's proper hydro for operation of each food booth.

Food vendors are not permitted to sell food prepared at home (unless exempt from Ontario Food Premises Regulation 562).

Food Vendor Responsibilities

As a food vendor, you are responsible for:

  • Filling out and submitting the application form 30 days before the event.
  • Educating yourself and staff on safe food handling practices.
  • Providing foods that have only been prepared in an inspected facility.
  • Verifying that all equipment is working properly before preparing or bringing food to the booth.
  • Being aware that food deemed unsafe will be discarded during inspection.
  • Food Booths meeting the specifications listed in the Food Vendors Set-Up Guide.
  • Proper floor coverings (e.g., plywood). Do not use tarps or carpet. Raised flooring is strongly suggested.
  • Making sure all handwashing stations are supplied with hot and cold or tepid water and supplied with liquid soap in a dispenser and paper towels.
  • Knowing the location of the dishwashing area or, if not provided by event organizer, providing a means of dishwashing (at least two sinks just for dishwashing are required).
  • Providing refrigeration that keeps hazardous (unsafe) foods at 4ºC (40ºF) or less.
  • Making sure freezers are maintained at -18ºC (0ºF) or less.
  • Providing a probe thermometer to verify cooking temperatures. Provide indicating thermometer to verify refrigeration temperatures.
  • Providing a sanitizer in a labelled container, along with test strips to verify sanitizer concentration.
  • Protecting food from contamination (i.e. covers, lids, containers, plastic wrap, use utensils) and store food at least 15cm off the floor.
  • Making sure that all hazardous foods are cooked to the proper cooking temperature and hot foods are kept at 60ºC (140ºF) or more.
  • When transporting foods, making sure they’re covered and keeping hazardous foods at the following temperatures: 4ºC (40ºF) or lower; or 60ºC (140ºF) or higher.

You must follow the guidelines listed to meet the requirements to operate. Failure to meet the requirements may lead to a delay or inability to offer food for sale to the public. If a health hazard is found to exist during the operation of a food booth, we may require your operation to close until the health hazard is corrected.

What are potentially hazardous (unsafe) foods?

The following is a list of foods that can support the growth of disease-causing micro-organisms:

  • Meat, fish, poultry, and eggs.
  • Dairy products.
  • Rice.
  • Moist foods with a pH above 4.5.
  • Some raw vegetables and fruit.

Examples include:

  • Hamburgers
  • Pogos
  • Hot dogs
  • Gyros
  • Rice dishes
  • Pizza
  • Garlic in oil
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Yogurt
  • Cream-filled pastries.

Make sure that all potentially hazardous foods are kept at the required temperatures. 

Important Temperatures

  • Cold holding: 4ºC (40ºF) or less
  • Hot holding: 60ºC (140ºF) or more
  • Freezing: -18ºC (0ºF) or less
  • Poultry/ground poultry: 74ºC (165ºF)
  • Whole poultry: 82ºC (180ºF)
  • Pork: 71ºC (160ºF)
  • Ground meat (beef, pork): 71ºC (160ºF)
  • Fish: 70ºC (158ºF)
  • Food mixtures: 74ºC (165ºF)


Did you forget anything?
  • Hand wash station and supplies (i.e., paper towels, liquid soap in dispenser).
  • Thermometers (probe and indicator).
  • Dishwashing detergent and sanitizer.
  • Dishwashing area with two sinks used just for washing dishes.
  • Sanitizer test strips (test reagent).
  • Extra utensils.
  • Coolers are maintained at 4ºC (40ºF).
  • Freezers are maintained at -18ºC (0ºF) or less.
  • Garbage bags.
  • Wiping cloths.
  • Headgear (e.g., hats or hairnets) and clean outer garments.
  • Waste water container.
  • Platform or shelving to raise food and other items off the ground (at least 15cm).
  • Single service utensils.
  • Covers or lids for food storage (e.g., aluminum foil, plastic wrap).

Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O., c. H-7 (1990).
Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O., c. H-7 Revised Regulation of Ontario, Regulation 562 (1990).

Related Content: