Food Handler and Food Safety Certification in Canada

Food safety and Sanitation in Mississauga

The role of the health unit in prevent foodborne illness is a large one – with foodborne illness cases sourcing from improperly handled food at food establishments. When food handlers do not practice proper food safety, the product that is sold on the mark is unsafe for public consumption – why? Because ingesting the contaminated product can lead to foodborne illness. When food handlers sign up for food safety training and become licensed handlers, the risk for contaminating food becomes very low (even zero!).

How do I sign up for a food handler program?

At Mississauga First Aid, signing up is easy – you get to enroll at any time of the day from the comfort of your own home. This is via our website, which has an online form available 24/7. You don’t need to download it, it has blanks where you type in your information before you click submit. Complete details on available classes can also be found on the website.

If you need to contact us, you can do so through the e-mail or telephone call. You may even visit us in person to inquire or enroll – our very attentive staff is always available from 8 AM to 5 PM.

What programs can I enroll in?

Mississauga First Aid has first aid and food safety programs available. In food safety, there are two levels – level one (basic training) and level two (advanced training). Before signing up for the second level, students to complete and be certified for the first level beforehand.

Basic food handler program topics

  • Introduction to microbiology
  • Pathology of foodborne illness
  • Health and hygiene
  • Sanitation

Advanced food handler program topics

  • Health permits/licenses
  • Staff training on food safety
  • Planning facility design
  • Facility housekeeping and sanitation

How do I renew my certificate?

When you complete a program, you have to take a certification exam and pass with at least a score of 75 percent to pass and receive a food safety license. The license or certificate is valid for five years and must be renewed before it expires.

Renewal is done in two steps: (1) refresher class and (2) another certification exam (with also a 75 percent passing rate). Refresher classes focus on the basics again, as well as updates to food safety techniques and concepts.

What is up with foodborne illness in Canada?

Foodborne illness in Canada is widespread, though remaining easy to manage. Every year, there are about four million people who are affected by foodborne illness. This is why the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care created a bylaw on mandatory food handler training. The bylaw actually targets food establishments, not food handlers specifically.

The bylaw (bylaw 78-2010) requires that medium risk and high risk food facilities have certified food handlers on staff, and that these handlers are present on duty at all times in the establishment (“when food is being handled” – which is all the time in a food establishment).

It is better to study food safety before you apply to jobs as well, because there is a higher chance that you will be hired over a person who isn’t certified.

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