The Northwestern Health Unit is legislated to deliver and enforce the Food Safety Program under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (R.R.O. 1990), Regulation 562 Food Premises. Specific program requirements and standards have also been set out by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in its Mandatory Health Programs and Services Guidelines (1997).
Inspections of Public Food Premises
Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) determine the risk status (high, medium, or low) of all food premises where food is stored, manufactured, prepared, transported or served to the public.
PHIs inspect all food premises according to a schedule based on risk status of the food premise.
"Northwestern Health Unit Public Health Inspectors are committed to protecting our communities through routine and complaint food premise inspections. If you would like to view any food premise inspection report please contact your local Public Health Inspector to arrange a meeting".
Food Handler Training Courses The NWHU provides food handler training courses to food handlers in high and medium-risk food premises, community groups and also to the general public.
Visit our calendar of events section to find out when the next Food Handler Certification Program is being offered in your community or the area.
Investigating Illnesses and Food-Related Complaints The NWHU investigates food-borne illnesses and food-borne outbreaks, and food-related consumer complaints.
Food Recalls The NWHU stops the sale or distribution of food that is unfit for human consumption.
New Food Premises The NWHU evaluates plans for new and renovated food premises to ensure compliance with pertinent legislation and provides an initial inspection once the premise is at operational capacity.
Special Occasions Food Permits The NWHU provides food safety guidelines and issues Special Occasions Food Permits to groups organizing special events or large public gatherings where food is being served.
If you are a member of a group/organization/agency that is serving/preparing food for the public, and you are not utilizing kitchen facilities that are routinely inspected and approved by the Northwestern Health Unit, you are required to complete a Special Occasion Permit. Examples of such events may include such events as Festivals, Fairs, Fundraising Events (School Hot Dog Days, BBQ Fundraisers, etc.) and Sporting Events/Tournaments.
Simply fill out a Special Occasions Food Permit and return it to the Northwestern Health Unit for the approval of your local Public Health Inspector. There is no cost to you.
Education and Information The NWHU provides media information and educational materials to the public, non-profit community groups (such as school nourishment programs), food banks, and community meal programs, and teachers responsible for teaching food-related subjects to grades 7 and 8.
Community Partners The Northwestern Health Unit works with the following community partners to carry out the responsibilities assigned to it under Ontarios Mandatory Programs and Health Services Guidelines and Regulation 562 (Food Premises) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Thunder Bay Public Health Laboratory.
Area municipalities and community groups.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.