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Food safety in school programs

Safe food practices in before-after school programs and child nourishment programs.

On January 1, 2020, amendments were made to the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 493/17 to reduce burden and increase flexibility for programs that prepare or serve low-risk or pre-packaged, ready-to-eat foods only.

General practices

Hand washing facilities

Handwashing is mandatory to prevent contamination of food or food areas. Alcohol-based sanitizers is not a substitute for handwashing.

Programs serving low-risk or pre-packaged foods only do not require a designated handwashing sink in the food preparation area. However, hand washing is still mandatory to prevent contamination of food or food areas. Food handlers can use an available handwashing sink (i.e., in a staffroom) that has a constant supply of hot and cold running water, and paper towels and liquid soap in a dispenser.

Programs preparing and handling or serving high-risk foods require a designated handwashing sink in all food preparation areas. The handwashing sink must be fully plumbed with hot and cold running water and drained to remove wastewater. A supply of liquid soap and paper towels in dispensers are required at the handwashing sinks.


Programs serving only low-risk or pre-packaged foods are not required to have a 2- or 3- compartment sink or a commercial dishwasher in the food preparation area. However, all utensils used to prepare food must be properly cleaned and sanitized.

If an adequate number of sinks are not available, clean and rinse utensils in a separate sink from handwashing or ensure the sink is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized prior to dishwashing.

The sanitizing step must be performed in a second or third sink which can be substituted with a dishwash container or bin to complete the sanitizing step.

Programs serving high-risk foods are required to use a 2 or 3 compartment sink or a commercial-type dishwasher.

Cleaning and sanitizing

All surfaces and equipment that come in contact with food must be cleaned and sanitized after use or as often as necessary to maintain such surfaces in a sanitary condition. 

Chlorine, iodine, or quaternary ammonium are required to be used for sanitizing food contact surfaces in accordance with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 493/17.

Other sanitizing chemicals can be used if the following requirements are met:

Food handling

Food Handler Certification

Register for food handler certification