Requirements for food vendors at special events

The following requirements have been established to reduce the risk of food borne illness. Please complete and submit the “Application Form for Food Service at a Special Event”, to Ottawa Public Health (OPH) at least two (2) weeks prior to the event. Once the completed application form has been received it will be reviewed by a public health inspector. If required, a public health inspector may contact you to discuss safe food practices specific to your temporary food premises.

It is highly recommended that all employees or persons who handle or come in contact with any utensil or food during its preparation, processing, packaging, service, storage or transportation attend the Food Handler Certification Course. To discuss training, contact Ottawa Public Health or visit the Certified food handler training page. Food vendors at special events not meeting the requirements set out by Ottawa Public Health will not be permitted to operate.


The Food Premises Regulation 562 is a provincial law that public health inspectors use to legislate food safety in Ontario. As a food vendor you are responsible for being familiar and compliant with the requirements as prescribed under the Food Premises Regulation. A copy of the regulations can be found on the e-Laws Site

To help guide you, the follow definitions have been taken from the Food Premises Regulation 562, as amended under the Health Protection and Promotion Act R.S.O., 1990 c.H.7.
“Employee” means any person who,

  1. is employed in a food premise, and
  2. handles or comes in contact with any utensil or with food during its preparation, processing, packaging, service, storage or transportation;

“Food” is not limited to, but includes liquids and ice intended for human consumption;

“Food contact surface” means any surface that food comes in contact with in a food premise;

“Hazardous food” means any food that is capable of supporting the growth of pathogenic organisms (organisms that are capable of causing disease) or the productions of the toxins of such organisms;

“Mobile preparation premises” means a vehicle or other itinerant food premise from which food prepared therein is offered for sale to the public;

“Potable water” means water that is safe for human consumption;

“Pre-packaged foods” means food that is packaged at a premise other than the premises at which it is offered for sale;

“Structure” means something that is arranged in a pattern to form a surface appropriate to prepare, serve and store food products (i.e., tables, food vending cart, mobile food premises, and kitchen facility);

“Utensil” means any article or equipment used in the manufacture, processing, preparation, storage, handling, display, distribution, sale or offer for sale of food except a single-service article.

Vendor Responsibilities

A) Food Preparation and Protection

  • All raw hazardous foods must be pre-cut/pre-chopped prior to the event; only final cooking steps are to be conducted at the event.
  • Precooked meats are recommended whenever possible to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
  • All food must be protected against contamination from dust, insects and other contaminants during transportation, storage and display. Food must be covered using a lid, or food wrap (aluminium or plastic). 
  • Food must be stored at least 15 cm (6 inches) above the ground. 
  • To avoid potential contamination raw hazardous foods must be stored separately or below ready-to eat foods (e.g. use separate containers/coolers for raw hazardous foods and ready to eat foods). 
  • Tongs, spoons and scoops must be used where possible to avoid direct hand contact with food.
  • Cooked foods must not be placed on plates or containers that previously held raw hazardous foods.
  • Condiments must be offered in either individual packages or dispensed from a container which protects the condiments from contamination (e.g. pump dispenser or squeeze bottle). OPEN LID CONTAINERS with utensils are NOT permitted. 

B) Temperature Control

  • Hazardous foods must be transported, stored, and maintained at required temperatures. 
  • Cold hazardous foods must be maintained at 4 degrees C or lower.
  • Hot hazardous foods must be maintained at 60 degrees C or above. 
  • Adequate temperatures must be maintained during transportation. Use thermal insulated containers with cold or hot packs or refrigerated trucks to maintain hazardous foods at the required temperatures.
  • Hazardous frozen foods must be thawed in a refrigerator or under cold running water, NOT at room temperature.
  • All cold holding units must have an accurate thermometer.
  • A probe thermometer must be provided to record the internal temperature of all hot and cold hazardous foods.
  • All meats and meat products must be thoroughly cooked and reheated to the temperatures referred to below:

Hazardous Food Items

Cooking °C (°F) for 15 seconds

Reheating °C (°F) for 15 seconds

Whole Poultry

82°C / 180°F

74°C / 165°F

Poultry / Ground Poultry

74°C / 165°F

74°C / 165°F

Pork / Pork Products

71°C / 160°F

71°C / 160°F

Ground Meat (beef, pork)

71°C / 160°F

71°C / 160°F


70°C / 158°F

70°C / 158°F

Hazardous Food Mixtures

74°C / 165°F

74°C / 165°F

C) Water Supply

  • Only potable water is allowed.
  • The water supply must either be connected to a potable water system or be from an enclosed potable water holding tank.
  • Food grade hoses are recommended when connecting to the water supply.

D) Handwash Basin

  • Every temporary food premises that handles an open food product must be equipped with their own separate handwash basin. The handwash basin must be located in a convenient location within the temporary food premises. 
  • Washroom sinks cannot be used for this purpose. 
  • Hand sanitizers do not replace the requirements for a separate handwash basin. Hand sanitizer should only be used by non-food handlers (i.e. cashiers).
  • Disposable gloves do not replace the requirements for a separate handwash basin. Disposable gloves may be used in addition to good hand hygiene practices. 

Serviced Sites (sites where hydro and a water connection are available to all vendors) 

  • The handwash basin must be equipped with potable hot and cold running water under pressure, a supply of liquid soap and paper towels in a dispenser.

Unserviced Sites (sites where hydro and a water connection are not available to all vendors)

  • For events lasting one (1) day or less:
    • A temporary handwash basin will be permitted. A temporary handwash basin consists of a container with a spigot that is capable of providing a continuous flow of warm running water for approximately 20 seconds, a supply of liquid soap and paper towel in a dispenser. Vendors must also provide a bucket to collect the grey water. (Refer to page 6)
  • For events lasting two (2) or more days:
    • A temporary handwash basin may be permitted. The use of a temporary handwash basin will be determined upon the completion of a risk assessment. The risk assessment will be based on the type of food being prepared and the level of on-site food handling. 
    • Based on the results of a risk assessment a more structured handwash basin may be required. For example a foot pump operated handwash basin equipped with running water, a supply of liquid soap and paper towel in a dispenser.

E) Personal Hygiene

  • Food handlers must: 
    • Wash their hands thoroughly with liquid soap and warm water as often as necessary to prevent contamination of food and food contact surfaces.
    • Ensure that their hair is confined.
    • Wear clean outer garments.
    • Be free from illness.
    • Not use tobacco within the temporary food premises.

F) Dishwashing and Utensils

  • Only single service utensils (i.e. plastic cutlery, plates and cup) will be permitted. All single service utensils must be stored in a sanitary manner. Re-use of single service utensils is prohibited.

Serviced Sites (sites where hydro and a water connection are available to all vendors)

  • A two compartment sink must be provided and equipped with potable hot and cold running water. Utensils and equipment must be washed, rinsed and sanitized using the two compartment sink method. (Refer to page 7)

Unserviced Sites (sites where hydro and a water connection are not available to all vendors)

  • Where a 2-compartment sink is not available for dishwashing due to the availability of water access, the vendor must be equipped with a sufficient number of extra utensils. The extra utensils will serve as back-up should utensils become contaminated. Four sets of clean utensils are recommended for each day of the event. The extra utensils must be clean, and wrapped to prevent contamination during storage.
  • Utensils that are not washed on-site must be washed/rinsed/sanitized in a commercial premises.

G) Sanitizing

  • Adequate sanitizer concentrations are: 
    • 100 ppm chlorine solution. (Refer to page 8)
    • 200 ppm quaternary ammonium solution. (Follow manufacturer’s instructions)
    • Sanitizing concentrations must be double for all utensils and equipment that cannot be immersed in the sanitizing solution.
  • Wiping cloths for cleaning and sanitizing must be provided and stored in a sanitary manner. 
  • Sanitizing solutions must be prepared daily.
  • Chemicals must be stored away from food products. 
  • All chemical bottles must be properly labelled.

H) Structure

  • All food contact surfaces must be smooth, non-absorbent and easily cleanable. 
  • Temporary food premises that are located on grass must provide adequate flooring. The flooring must be sturdy and easily cleanable (i.e. painted plywood, thick rubber mats). 
  • Temporary food premises must have an overhead cover (i.e. canopy, umbrella, or tent) to protect the food from potential contamination.

I) Solid and Liquid Waste Management

  • An adequately sized garbage container must be provided. The container must be durable, leak proof and emptied regularly.
  • All wastewater must drain into a covered, leak proof holding tank (container/bucket). Wastewater holding tanks must be sized to accommodate an equal or greater volume of the potable water supply. 
  • Arrange for the sanitary disposal of all wastewater. Wastewater must not be disposed of on the ground.