The Ontario government has released a guide on how to start a home-based food business, in an effort to help small independent businesses succeed and contribute to Ontario communities during COVID-19.
“Starting a home-based food business is an excellent opportunity for people across Ontario to share their culinary creativity, build a business for themselves and be part of the province’s agri-food sector,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Our government is committed to encouraging this growing part of the economy and to support all the good things that are grown and produced right here in Ontario.”
The guide includes an overview of public health requirements that need to be followed as a food operator. All food premises, including home-based food businesses, must adhere to requirements under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) and the Food Premises Regulation, as well as periodic inspections by their local public health unit.
However, the government has also made regulatory changes to allow more flexibility to sell low-risk, home-prepared foods. Low-risk foods are considered non-hazardous and do not require refrigeration, and these home-based food businesses that prepare only low-risk foods are exempt from certain regulatory requirements.
“For many local entrepreneurs, they start with a love of food and a cherished family recipe, whether it’s grandma’s apple pie or that new take on homegrown pickles, jams and preserves, and try and turn their passion into a successful business,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “Our government applauds them for their vision and effort and we are doing everything we can to help them seize new opportunities without compromising Ontario’s high standards for food safety.”
Learn more on the province’s website here.