Food Safety

Public Information

Environmental Health Officers (EHO) conduct more than 7,000 inspections of restaurants, food facilities and stores annually. EHOs educate food handlers and consumers about safe food handling practices.

Opening a Restaurant, Mobile Food Vending Unit or Other Food Premises

Under the Food Premises Regulation, a food premises refers to any place where food intended for public consumption is offered for sale, supplied, handled, prepared, packaged, displayed, served, processed, stored, transported or dispensed.

If you wish to operate a food premises, you must submit an application to the local Health Protection and Environment Services office PRIOR to construction or operation. Operating permits and approvals are not transferrable to new owners.  

Your application package must include:


Food facilities are required to connect to a water system that complies with the Drinking Water Protection Act and Regulations, along with a valid operating permit.


Food facilities also require a waste disposal system in compliance with the appropriate government agency. Your existing system may require review and upgrading. Your local Environmental Health Officer can provide more information.

Permit or Approval to Operate

When a facility is ready to open, the Environmental Health Officer conducts a pre-opening inspection. When compliance with the Food Premises Regulations is achieved, you will be issued a written permit or approval to operate.  


Restaurant operators must hold a valid FOODSAFE certificate or a Food Handlers Training Course. At least one employee present must hold a valid FOODSAFE certificate if the operator is absent.

If you require a replacement FOODSAFE certificate, please call 250.737.2017 or email foodsafe@viha.ca.

All FOODSAFE Level 1 certificates issued in British Columbia are valid for five years. To recertify, simply retake the FOODSAFE Level 1 course or take the FOODSAFE Level 1 Refresher online course.

Temporary Food Markets

To sell lower risk food items at farmers markets and other temporary food markets, you (and market managers) should read the Guidelines for Temporary Food Markets.

To sell  higher risk food items at temporary food markets, you need to complete an application for Sale of Higher Risk Food at Temporary Food Markets and submit it to the local Health Protection and Environmental Services office.

Onsite food preparation is not permitted by market vendors. If onsite food preparation is proposed, approval to operate a temporary food service establishment is required.

To prepare and sell food at public events, you need to fill out an Application to Operate Temporary Food Service. Once completed, please submit to your local Health Protection and Environmental Services Office.

Temporary Food Service

To provide food at public events, you need to fill out an Application to Operate Temporary Food Service.

No home food preparation for the public is allowed. An approved commercial kitchen must be used for any preparation done prior to the event. Onsite preparation at the event, when described in the application and found to be accepted by the Environmental Health Officer, will be permitted.

Once you complete your application, please submit it to your local Health Protection and Environmental Services office. A maximum of 14 days per calendar year will be considered for approval. Applications must be submitted at least 14 days prior to the event date or market.

Food Safety Guidelines and Applications