Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the changes to the Food Premises Regulations were postponed and will now take effect on May 1, 2021.
On May 1, 2020, a change to the Newfoundland and Labrador Food Premises Regulations will take effect. The change will require owners / operators of food establishments to have at least one employee with current food safety training credentials to be physically present while the food premises is in operation.
As part of The Way Forward Plan, the Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to implementing food safety training requirements for food service workers employed in commercial food service establishments.
This approach is in line with the majority of other provinces and territories in Canada, and will help to improve consumer safety. Food safety training has been proven to:
- increase proper handwashing among Food Handlers;
- decrease the number of health code violations cited during public health inspections; and
- reduce the risk of food-borne illness outbreaks.
Will my business be affected by the new regulations?
The requirement for food safety training applies to licensed food premises where food is handled, prepared or manufactured.
Some examples of these types of food premises include:
- restaurants, fast food chains, take-outs, food trucks, grocery stores
- convenience stores and gas stations where food is prepared
- butcher shops, bakeries, dairy product manufacturers, meat packers / processors
- licensed kitchens used by commercial caterers
- food premises where food is prepared for public institutions (e.g. schools, long-term care facilities, hospitals)
- food premises in child care centres, elder care facilities and personal care homes
Food premises will be notified in writing of the new training requirements.
Note: If you are not notified in writing but you own or operate food premises where these activities occur, that does not mean that you are exempt from the new training requirement. Contact the Department of Health and Community Services at (709) 729-3422 or HealthInfo@gov.nl.ca if you are unsure if your food business is subject to the new requirement.
Who needs to complete food safety training?
The owner / operator of a commercial food business must ensure that at least one employee with food handling certification is present while the premises is in operation. An ‘employee’ may include the owner / operator, manager or a Food Handler employed in the business.
How many employees will need to have food safety training?
While only one employee with current food safety training needs to be present while the food premises is in operation, it is more practical to have several or all employees trained in order to cover work shifts and employee absences, including sick days and vacation days.
Having more employees with official food safety training will also provide further protection against:
- food poisoning
- physical injury
- poisoning from chemical contamination
- severe allergic reactions to food
Food safety incidents such as those cited above can have serious consequences for all parties involved.
An owner / operator or food worker in a commercial food service establishment may be held legally or financially responsible for damages resulting from unsafe food handling.
Will the SkillsPassNL Food Safety Basics module meet this training requirement?
SkillsPassNL offers free online training modules on a variety of food safety topics. These short modules are acceptable for 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 / operators of food premises who wish to use SkillsPass to track employee food safety training from other course providers must first contact a member of the SkillsPass adoption team.
How long are food safety training courses?
Approved food safety courses are typically six to eight hours in length. Online courses are a convenient option for completing mandatory food safety training, as they may be completed in one day or at the learner’s own pace.
Approved food safety courses require the successful completion of an exam. If the course is administered online, the exam is often completed via a webcam with a qualified instructor (‘proctor’).
If you choose to complete in-class training, the final exam may or may not be included in the cost of the course. Check with the course provider about examination requirements and details.
How long is a food safety training certificate valid?
Food safety training certificates typically expire within five years. Check with the course provider about certificate expiry.
Will the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador offer its own food safety course?
No, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador does not plan to offer its own food safety course. Food premises owners / operators must choose a food safety course from an approved provider.
Approved food safety courses are typically offered by private training companies or community colleges and vary in cost. Some food safety training providers may charge additional fees for examinations.
The Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS) is an approved provider; the one-time course fee for the CIFS Food Handler Certification Course includes the course materials, online proctored exam and Food Handler certificate upon successful completion of the course.
Do I have to submit or display my food safety training certificates?
You do not have to submit or display your food safety training certificates; however, proof of training should be kept on file for your local Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to see during routine inspections.
Proof of training may include paper copies of Food Handler certificates or electronic records. It’s a good idea to track Food Handler training documentation in an employee database.
Who will check to make sure that employees have food safety training?
During a routine inspection, an EHO (‘Health Inspector’) may ask to see proof that at least one employee with current food safety training is present. You must provide proof of employee food safety training upon request.
Keep copies of employee food safety certificates on file for easy reference.
Learn more about food safety training requirements in NL
For more information about food safety training requirements in Newfoundland and Labrador, contact the Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS).