Understanding food safety laws
As a food business owner or manager, you need to be sure you comply with:
- Federal government food safety laws
- Nunavut territorial food safety laws
- Local municipal legislation
If you don’t comply you risk being fined, prosecuted or even having your business closed.
Federal and territorial laws
If you fail to comply with Nunavut food safety laws, you risk being fined, prosecuted or even having your business closed.
Health Canada is responsible for establishing policies and setting food safety standards for food businesses.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for enforcing these policies and standards.
The following are federal acts and regulations related to food safety in Canada:
- Food and Drugs Act
- Safe Food for Canadians Act
Note: The Safe Food for Canadians Act consolidates the authorities of the Fish Inspection Act, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, which were repealed 15 January, 2019.
Territorial food safety laws are set by:
- Nunavut Public Health Act
Nunavut’s Public Health Act (Part 4, Section 23.3) states that any person who distributes, sells or serves food to the public, an institution or a camp must provide food that’s safe for human consumption by:
- maintaining his or her premises and transport vehicles under clean and sanitary conditions
- taking reasonable measures to prevent contamination of the food
- taking reasonable measures to protect the public from other food-related health hazards
If you prepare or sell country food, it is recommended that you follow the guidelines in:
- Serving Country Food in Government-Funded Facilities and Community Programs
These guidelines were created by the Government of Nunavut and the Nunavut Food Security Coalition.
Food Handler Certification
Food Handler Certification is best practice for food businesses. It's recommended to certify anyone that handles food in your business.
Having your workforce complete a Food Handler Certification course helps you meet food safety legal requirements in areas such as:
- time and temperature control
- employee hygiene
- food contamination
- cleaning and sanitizing
Food safety inspections
Federal and territorial governments monitor food safety across Nunavut. Be prepared for Inspectors to visit your business before its opening and then every four to six months after.
Inspectors have the authority to:
- enter your business at any time without notice
- examine any area and equipment in your business
- take samples of food or food contaminants
- issue warning notices and fines
- close your business immediately
What happens if I don’t comply?
If your business fails to meet Nunavut’s food safety requirements, the consequences are severe.
For serious offences, your licence may be suspended or revoked, closing your business immediately.
For serious breaches, employees, proprietors, managers and directors may be prosecuted.
When public health is at risk, your business may have food seized and destroyed.
Brand and reputation damage
Your business may struggle to recover its reputation if the media reports a food safety incident.