City of Toronto

Food and Beverage (non-alcoholic)

If you plan to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages, depending on the size of your event Toronto Public Health may have many different roles such as:  providing consultation, inspecting food vending booths, reviewing the plans for sanitary disposal of waste, tobacco control, drinking water safety, environmental issues (dealing with health hazards), communicable disease control, complaints related to food and suspect food poisoning investigations.


Toronto Public Health
Public Health Inspector

Phone: 416-338-7600
Fax: 416-392-0714
Website: Toronto Public Health - Food Safety at Special Events

Timelines / Deadlines:

  • 4 to 6 weeks - For review and approval of Special Event Temporary Food Establishment Organizer/Vendor packages


  • None


  • As the organizer, obtain and review the "Special Event Temporary Food Establishment – Organizer" and "Special Event Temporary Food Establishment - Vendor " packages
  • Contact a Public Health Inspector with Toronto Public Health for further guidance on where and how to submit your information
  • Create an Event Site Plan (drawing) indicating food vendors, garbage/wastewater disposal sites and sanitary facilities.  Ensure all food vending booths are to be properly set up with all equipment, food protected from contamination and adequate hand washing stations
  • For Vendors:
    • Have all vendors complete Part 1, 2 and 3 of the "Special Event Temporary Food Establishment Vendor Package"
    • Collect information on all of the food vendors to determine if they are Certified Food Handlers or if the vendors have attended (or will be attending) a Special Event Food Handler Training course prior to the event if available by Toronto Public Heath
    • Ensure vendors do not use, sell or give away foods or beverages that are home prepared, home canned or unpasteurized (e.g. milk, cider)
    • Ensure vendors only use foods that have been obtained from an approved source (e.g. inspected meat, poultry and eggs)
    • Ensure all food is to be prepared in a licensed and inspected commercial kitchen – only limited preparation (i.e. final cooking and associated assembly) is permitted on-site
  • Arrange adequate disposal of garbage (e.g. dumpster) at a designated site.  This should also be in consultation with Solid Waste Management
  • Arrange for sanitary disposal of liquid waste (e.g. leak-proof container/holding tank)
  • Provide sanitary facilities (for vendors and public) – including Temporary Hand Washing Stations with proper supplies – in sufficient numbers and maintained in a sanitary manner throughout the event. Note: hand sanitizers do not replace Temporary Hand Washing Stations. Hand sanitizer should be used only by non-food handlers (i.e. cashier, busboy, garbage & maintenance staff, general public, etc.)
  • Co-ordinate alternative back-up plans with vendors in case of power failure or water shortages (e.g. provision of emergency generators, propane burners, supply of ice, potable water)
  • Submit the "Special Event Temporary Food Establishment – Organizer" and "Special Event Temporary Food Establishment - Vendor" packages in one submission with all attachments to Toronto Public Health for review
  • Notify Toronto Public Health of any significant changes to the original application;
  • During the event, Public Health Inspectors may inspect food vendors to ensure proper food handling is being implemented and to prevent any health hazard that might result in a food poisoning.  Often during the inspection immediate corrective action may be required of the vendor and/or organizer.  Examples of this are providing accurate indicating thermometers, maintaining hot and cold holding temperatures of food, providing adequate supplies of potable water for cooking and hand-washing or even the condemnation of food

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Forms Required / Guides / Reference:

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