Food Safety

Event Food Vendor Application

You can apply through:

No need to submit a special event form if:

  1. Sale or distribution of non perishable food or prepackaged items only (cookies, cake, muffins, Krispy Kreme donuts, coffee, tea, popcorn
  2. A club meeting where there is food served
  3. A departmental or club member only pot luck
  4. A catered event or meeting with food intended for immediate consumption (ie. Food Services or an inspected facility)
  5. A charity food sale with food purchased from inspected facility (eg. Pizza sale with pizza supplied from Campus Pizza, Krispy Kreme donut sale)
  6. BBQ’s on campus where there is only precooked burgers and/or precooked hot dogs served

****Where forms are submitted under the above circumstances, ROWPH will not reply regarding any approvals

Please submit a special event form if the event is open to the general public:

  1. Food preparation is occurring on site of event or at the Feds Prep Kitchen for the event (ie. Night Market)
  2. Hot or cold holding AND service of hazardous foods for more than 2 hours

Guidelines for Preparation of Non-Hazardous Baked Goods

These guidelines from the Region of Waterloo Public Health apply to the home preparation of Non-Hazardous baked goods (fruit pies, dumplings, cookies etc.) for sale at UW events.

Non-Hazardous food - that is not able to support the growth of potentially harmful organisms.

Hazardous food - such as cream-filled pies, custard-type pies, egg and salad dishes, and meat dishes should not be offered through this type of sale because they can support the growth of harmful microorganisms that could cause food-borne illness. These types of food are to be prepared only in approved kitchens.

General Guidelines

Region of Waterloo Public Health recommends the use of approved (regularly inspected) or organization kitchens whenever possible. Contact Public Health to confirm approval or arrange to have a kitchen inspected. Residential kitchens will not be subject to inspection.

The organizer should contact Region of Waterloo Public Health, with the date and location of the event and types of food to be sold. (Complete a Public Health/UW Special Event Food Application)

The organizer should retain a list of who donated what food items in case of any necessary follow-up.

Good Food Handling Practices include: Frequent hand washing, washing-rinsing and sanitizing of all equipment before use, government approved ingredients, water sampling for private wells, and protection of food from contamination.

WARNING: Never offer for sale home-canned/bottled foods. Eating improperly canned vegetables, fruits, meats, fish or poultry may cause botulism, a highly fatal poisoning.

Food Preparation Guidelines

Food Handler

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water:
    • Before starting to handle food, after using the toilet, and between handling raw and ready to eat foods.
  • Use clean utensils to handle food.
  • Avoid handling food with bare hands.
  • Do not use tobacco or eat while preparing food.
  • Be clean, wear clean clothing.
  • Ensure that hair is restrained.
  • Do not wear jewelry while preparing food.
  • Do not prepare food if you are ill (diarrhea, cold, flu, etc.) or suffering from any other infections such as skin rashes on hands or arms, infected cuts, burns, boils, etc. Your illness can easily be spread through food to other people.


  • During preparation the kitchen is to be used solely for the purpose of preparing food for the event; no other food is to be prepared during this time.
  • Kitchen is to be kept free of pets, garbage, personal dishes and any individuals not involved in food preparation.
  • Prior to commencing preparation, all food contact surfaces (cutting boards, counter tops, bowls, utensils etc.,) are to be properly washed-rinsed-sanitized.
  • In order to sanitize, prepare a solution of bleach and water (1 teaspoon (5ml) or household strength chlorine bleach to 1 litre of water) either in a clean container or spray bottle.
  • After surface has been washed and rinsed immerse in sanitizing solution or spray, allow surface to air dry for a minimum of ten minutes, as chlorine in the bleach requires this time to kill any microbes that may be present on surfaces.
  • Remove all poisonous items such as insecticides, detergents, cleaners, polishes, etc. from preparation area to prevent accidental contamination.

Quality of Ingredients

  • Ensure all ingredients are in good condition and are from an approved commercial source. Use pasteurized dairy products and Grade 'A' eggs.
  • For individuals on private wells it is strongly recommended that you have a history of satisfactory well results.
  • Contact Region of Waterloo Public Health about water quality and free water samples.

Service and Sale of Food

  • All foods shall be protected from contamination.
    • Wrap all items completely in clear plastic, plastic wrap, aluminum foil or other clean, single-service covering as soon as possible after preparation to reduce the risk of contamination.
    • Unpackaged pies or pies with damaged packages should not be accepted.
  • Labels indicating the following are recommended: Type of dessert, list of ingredients, Warning: "This product may contain nuts or traces of nuts" if there is any possibility that the product may have come in contact with nuts or nut products.
  • Try to prepare food items as close to sale time as possible. Ideally all food should be prepared no more than 24 hours in advance for sale.

REMEMBER: People trust you to protect them. You are responsible for producing a safe food product.

Event Food Safety


To outline requirements for events with food outside of usual UW food areas within the Region of Waterloo. For other locations contact the local Public Health Authority.


Residence or dwelling units.


Public Health Food Safety Program 519-883-2008

UW Occupational Health Nurse ext. 40538


Events with food must comply with following the requirements of the Region of Waterloo Public Health.

  1. Fill out a Public Health/UW Special Event Food Application and submit it at least 30 days before the event to the address on the form.
    • Certain exemptions may apply. For more information and guidance, please call ext. 36264.
  2. All food preparation must be done in a Public Health approved facility.
    • Barbecues and Outside Cooking Equipment must comply with UW Standard.
    • Home preparation of foods is not allowed except for some baked goods. Refer to Guidelines for Preparation of Non Hazardous Baked Goods.
    • Only food from government approved sources is allowed
    • Countertops must be covered with a washable non-absorbent material.
    • Cutting boards must be hardwood or polyethylene plastic and in good condition.
    • Hand sinks must he located in a convenient location to food preparation area.
    • Store foods and storage containers at least 15 cm above the floor or ground
    • This facility should include warm running water liquid soap, and individual paper towels in proper dispensers.
    • Serviced Site: A separate hand sink with hot and cold water is required.
    • Unserviced Site: An air pump thermos or jug of warm water with a push button or turn spout (and a bucket to collect the dirty water) is an acceptable method.1
  5. Food service to patrons must be via single-service articles.
    • Serviced Site: Equipment and utensils must be washed in a two compartment sink.
    • Wash in hot soapy water.
    • Rinse under hot running water
    • Sanitize by immersion in an acceptable sanitizing solution (One teaspoon (5ml) of household strength chlorine bleach to one litre of water or QUAT solution at 200ppm).2
    • Unserviced Site: Provide an extra set of clean utensils. Store in a clean, washable container.
    • Sanitizing Solution for use:
    • For 100 ppm solutions use 1 tsp of bleach in 1 litre of water DO NOT USE SCENTED BLEACH
    • Food preparation and cooking areas must be separated from the serving area.
    • Protect food on display from contamination with the use of sneeze guards, pre-packaging etc.
    • Condiment containers must be pump type, squeeze containers, or have self closing covers or lids. Single service packets are recommended.
    • Food must be handled with tongs, spoons etc. and not with bare hands.
    • Ensure all food contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized.3
    • To reduce the potential of foodborne illness:
    • Hot Holding: Maintain food at minimum internal temperature of 60°C (140°F) after cooking or reheating.
    • Cold Holding: Store foods at a temperature of 4°C (39°F) or lower. Hazardous foods are milk or milk products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, or other products that can support the growth of disease causing micro-organisms. Examples are hamburgers, shish kabobs, hot dogs, gyros, pogos, chicken, potatoes, cooked rice, ice cream. Hazardous foods shall not be held at room temperature.
    • Hazardous foods shall not be held at room temperature.
    • Serviced Site: All hazardous food must be kept mechanically refrigerated at 4°C (39°F) or lower.
    • Unserviced Site: Store the minimum amount of food at the booth in a cooler (use sealed ice packs and place on top of food). The food temperature must be 4°C (39°F) or lower. Most food must be stored in a mechanically refrigerated unit off site or in a refrigerted truck.
    • Accurate thermometers must be provided in all cooling units to monitor temperatures.
    • Reheating:  Foods must be quickly reheated to the original cooking temperature (or 74°F).
    • Cooking/Heating: Cooking hazardous food to the following minimum internal temperatures.
    1. Whole Poultry...................................................82°C/180°F
    2. Poultry/ground poultry.......................................74°C/165°F
    3. Pork/pork products............................................71°C/160°F
    4. Ground meat (not poultry)..................................71°C/160°F
    5. Fish.................................................................70°C/158°F
    6. Eggs................................................................63°C/145°F
    7. Food mixtures...................................................74°C/165°F
    8. Other hazardous foods.......................................70°C/158°F
    • NOTE: Use a sanitized metal stem probe thermometer to check internal temperatures of food.
    • Leftovers : Hot held foods which have not been used by the end of the day must be discarded.
    • Transporting :  Use properly insulated containers to transport foods and maintain food temperature cold (max 4°C) or hot (min. 60°C).4
  9. A probe thermometer must be provided to check internal temperatures. It must be able to measure from -18°C (O°F) to 105°C (220°F).5
    • Food Service personnel must,
      • not use tobacco in the booth
      • be clean, wear clean outer garments
      • wear headgear that confines the hair
      • be free from illness, i.e. diarrhea, cold, flu
    •  wash hands thoroughly with soap and water
      • before starting to handle food
      • after using the toilet
      • after sneezing, coughing
      • between handling raw and ready to eat foods
      • anytime that hands become soiled6
  11. An appropriate sized garbage container must he provided. Keep it clean and empty it frequently.

Be ready before starting! Have all your equipment ready i.e. refrigerators, steam tables, cold and hot running water etc. before bringing food to the booth.7

Barbecues and Outside Cooking Equipment


To outline requirements for safe use of barbecues and outside cooking equipment.


Food Safety

Follow Requirements of Region of Waterloo Public Health for events outlined in UW Standard Event Food Safety.

General Precautions

  1. All barbecues must only be used outdoors.
  2. Do not block any exit or use on a balcony.
  3. Keep barbecue away from combustible surfaces and buildings. It is dangerous to operate unit within 3 metres (10 feet) of combustible wall or window (open or closed) of a building.

Charcoal Barbecues

  1. Use only barbecue lighting fluid on charcoal. Read lighter instructions. Usually coals should be soaked in fluid 5 minutes before attempting to light up.
  2. Do not use kerosene, gasoline or naphtha as lighting fluid.
  3. Never add more lighting fluid when the flames have started. A flame may travel up and ignite the whole can.
  4. Keep a bucket of water handy.
  5. Smother the smoldering coals with a lid and let sit overnight. Stir the coals before leaving them and douse with water. Do not empty coals in garbage until next day.

Propane Barbecues

  1. Follow guidelines of Technical Standards and Safety Authority (below).
  2. A propane safety video available from Safety Office is recommended for training of propane barbecue operators.
  3. Before taking a barbecue indoors for storage remove the cylinder and leave it outside. It is unlawful to take a propane cylinder which contains, or has contained propane, indoors.
  4. Never put a propane cylinder in a closed vehicle. When transporting it, secure the cylinder in an upright position to prevent tipping. If transporting within passenger compartment secure cylinder and leave windows open.
  5. A special plug should be threaded into the outlet of the service valve and remain in place whenever the cylinder is not in use.
  6. Keep fire extinguisher (minimum rating 5 lbs ABC) near unit.

Understanding Propane

Is Propane Dangerous?

Used with care, propane is a safe and convenient fuel. Propane gas is neither toxic nor injurious to you, should you be exposed to it in small quantities. However, should a leak occur, the accumulation of propane gas can become dangerous.

Because propane is heavier than air, it tends to settle in the lowest available place. Very small amounts of propane are required to create a flammable mixture of gas and air. In the limited space of a recreation vehicle, for instance, very little propane is needed to create a hazardous situation.

How Important Is Ventilation?

Propane requires a large volume of air to burn properly. In fact, 23.5 cubic feet of air is needed to burn just one cubic foot of propane. With adequate ventilation, an operating burner gives off a number of harmless products such as carbon dioxide and water vapour however, a propane appliance starved of oxygen can quickly produce dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide.

For safety's sake, use your propane appliance only for the purpose for which it was designed. Don't, for example, use a stove as a space heater.

How Can Carbon Monoxide Be Detected?

Carbon monoxide is both colourless and odourless. It can't be detected by sense of smell. However, the following symptoms may appear:

  • headaches and tightness across the forehead and temples;
  • weariness, weakness, dizziness and nausea;
  • loss of muscular control;
  • watering and smarting of the eyes.

If any of these symptoms should develop, get into the fresh air immediately.

How Is Propane Stored?

For recreational use propane is generally sold and stored in a cylinder. Assuming it is kept in good condition, the cylinder can be refilled indefinitely. When properly filled, a cylinder has about 75 per cent of its volume occupied with liquid propane. The space above the liquid to the top of the cylinder contains propane vapour.

An over-filled cylinder is no bargain. Sufficient space must be left in the cylinder to permit expansion of the liquid propane if the cylinder is exposed to warmer temperatures. Without this space, the "relief valve" may open and discharge propane, creating a potential safety hazard. The collars of propane cylinders manufactured in Canada carry markings indicating the cylinders have been manufactured to an acceptable specification. The following information will be found:


  • CTC: Canadian Transport Commission
  • 4B or 4BA: Specifications of the CTC for the design of propane cylinders;
  • 240: Working pressure of the cylinder in pounds per square inch (psi);
  • TW: Tare weight -- Weight of the empty cylinder, with valve;
  • WC: Water capacity -- The amount of water in pounds the cylinder can hold, filling is limited
  • to 42 per cent of the water capacity;
  • Date of manufacture, or, where applicable, re-test date;
  • Manufacturer's name or symbol;
  • Inspector's initials indicating the cylinder was inspected by an inspector certified by the CTC;
  • Serial number

Some cylinders may also show the number of pounds of propane. (Cylinders manufactured in the United States show similar information.)

A properly filled cylinder should weigh the sum of the tare weight plus 42 per cent of the water weight (WC) capacity of the cylinder. For example, a 20 pound cylinder has a water capacity of 48 pounds. The cylinder's weight after proper filling should be the tare weight plus 42/100 x 48 pounds, or the tare weight plus 20 pounds.

The relief valve on a propane cylinder will start to discharge at approximately 375 psi (pounds per square inch) pressure.

All propane cylinders are required to be inspected every 10 years starting with the date of manufacture to determine if the cylinder can remain in service and to replace the relief valve. This is law throughout Canada. It is unlawful to fill a cylinder that is overdue for inspection.

The Regulator

Propane in a cylinder reacts to changes in temperature. When the temperature drops, the pressure in the cylinder drops. When the temperature increases, the pressure increases. The regulator is designed to reduce the variance in pressure in the cylinder and maintain a constant pressure for delivery to an appliance.

A regulator should always be installed with its vent opening pointing downwards. If this isn't possible, cover the regulator with a proper cover to prevent the entry of rain or other liquids. The cover will also prevent ice build-up over the vent opening during the winter.

A plugged vent opening can cause excessive pressure resulting in high flames when the appliance is ignited.

How Should Cylinders Be Handled?

The following safety rules apply to the handling of propane cylinders:

  • Never refill a cylinder that is damaged, leaking or corroded.
  • Never put a cylinder in place for use without making sure it is secure.
  • Never put a propane cylinder in a closed vehicle. When transporting it, secure the cylinder in an upright position to prevent tipping. If transporting in the trunk, block the trunk lid open. If transporting within the passenger compartment, leave the windows open. In either case, a special plug should be threaded into the outlet of the service valve and remain in place whenever the cylinder is not in use.
  • This plug, made of metal or plastic, is designed to prevent a leak of propane should the valve be accidentally turned on.
  • Cylinders are painted in light-reflecting colours. If you must repaint them, do not use dark or flat colours which absorb heat. This could cause the propane liquid to expand and be released through the safety valve.
  • Never take a propane cylinder indoors if it contains, or has contained, propane. This is dangerous and unlawful.
  • When purchasing a new cylinder, be sure that it is the size that fits your appliance bracket.
  • Check that all valves on appliances are closed before connecting a new cylinder

Watch those connections!connection

When connecting a propane cylinder, use a properly fitting wrench (not pliers) to tighten the connection between the regulator and the cylinder valve (See diagram above).

Remember, the fitting that connects to the cylinder valve has to be turned to the left (counter- clockwise) to tighten. Some connectors have a hand wheel requiring only hand tightening. With this type, ensure that the rubber "0" ring is in good condition and in place before connecting to the cylinder valve. The "0" ring is a small rubber-like washer that fits into a groove in front of the threads. Double check this connection when you are doing your "soap and water" leak test (See below). Ensure all connections are tight before operating your propane appliance.appliance

Can leaks be detected?

Propane is both odourless and colourless when produced. However, in order for you to detect the presence of propane, an odour-producing substance is added to it by the propane producer. This odorant has a distinctive ,'rotten cabbage" smell, which is consumed and not noticeable when a burner is operating. If you detect such an odour, don't light a match or turn an electrical switch on or off. Turn off the cylinder valve, ventilate the area and search out the source of the leak.

Your propane system should be checked periodically for leaks even if the characteristic "rotten cabbage" odour is not detected.

Check for leaks

Before using a propane appliance, particularly if you have just connected a cylinder to it, check for leaks using the following method:

  1. Make up a soap and water solution.
  2. Turn the cylinder valve on.
  3. Spread the soap and water solution over the hose and the connections with a paint brush.
  4. Any leaks will result in bubbles forming in the solution.
  5. If a leak is indicated, shut off the cylinder valve.
  6. Repair any leak by tightening the fitting or replacing the. "0" ring.
  7. Repeat (1), (2) and (3) until no leaks are indicated before operating the appliance.
  8. If you cannot stop the leaks, consult a qualified service person.
  9. Never go over connections looking for leaks with a match, cigarette lighter or any other flame.

Propane Barbecues

While propane barbecues are cleaner and faster than charcoal, they do present a potential hazard to the careless user. When assembling the unit, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. If in doubt, take it back to the dealer or call a qualified service person.

A little extra care and these simple precautions should ensure the safe and enjoyable operation of your barbecue:

  • Make sure the burner ports are free of rust or dirt and that the burner orifice is clear of dust or cobwebs. (See manufacturer's instructions.)
  • Check that the hose is in good condition. A damaged or cracked hose can send out a jet of propane which, if ignited, could result in a flame several feet high.
  • Place your barbecue away from combustible surfaces when it is operating. It should not be close to a wooden fence or beneath a combustible roof, overhang or even a low tree.
  • It is unlawful to operate a barbecue within 10 feet of a combustible wall or a window (open or closed) of a building.
  • When lighting your barbecue, have the match or taper already burning and the lid open before you turn on the propane.
  • Never move the barbecue while it is lit.
  • Turn off both the appliance "on-off" valve and the cylinder valve at the conclusion of each use.

Check The Labels Before Buying

When you purchase a propane barbecue, be sure it carries the symbol of one of the following organizations to ensure the product has been tested and complies with Canadian standards.

  • Canadian Gas Association (CGA)
  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
  • Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC)

Use With Care

A propane barbecue must only be used outdoors. If you take your barbecue indoors for storage, remove the cylinder and leave it outside. It is unlawful to take a propane cylinder which contains, or has contained, propane indoors.