Processed Foods


Category: Food Safety
Subject: Processed Foods
Division: N/A
Policy Number: CA.80.01.114
Effective Date: April 30, 2014


It is the policy of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH), Health Protection Division, to ensure that all processed food offered to the public for consumption is transported, displayed, prepared, stored and served in a manner consistent with Public Health practices. A food safety awareness program will also be offered and promoted to groups that prepare food for public consumption on an occasional or intermittent basis.


This policy applies to all WDGPH employees working in the Health Protection Division.


Processed foods – any food that has undergone a heat treatment to render the product shelf stable and is offered for sale at a retail level including a special event or farmers’ market.

Excluded from this definition are any food products imported through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), or manufactured in a registered Federal or Provincial facility.


Corresponding Procedure:  CA.80.02.114 Processed Foods



Rob Thompson   


Category: Food Safety
Subject: Processed Foods
Division: N/A
Procedure Number: CA.80.02.114
Effective Date: April 30, 2014


1. All foods processed and packaged available for sale must be from an inspected facility under the jurisdiction of Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF), or an approved location meeting the requirements of the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 562. This does not apply to exempt farmers’ markets and special events as they are not required to comply with the Food Premises Regulation. The Health Protection and Promotion Act is enforceable at all markets and special events.

2. When an Inspector finds a food product for sale at a retail outlet, farmers’ market or special event they must determine where the product is from and where it was originally produced. This is done by investigation of the affixed label and discussion with the owner/operator/producer.

3. The food product must then be determined to be either a hazardous food as defined by the Food Premises Regulation or a non-hazardous food.  Processed foods can be classified as either non-hazardous foods or hazardous foods.

4. All hazardous foods in hermetically sealed containers that have not been subjected to a process sufficient to prevent the production of bacterial toxins or the survival of spore-forming pathogenic bacteria shall:

  • Be refrigerated;
  • Have “Keep Refrigerated” prominently marked on the container; and
  • Otherwise be supported with documentation to prove the shelf stability of the product.

5. All processed foods offered for sale shall:

  • Be made from a validated recipe;
  • Use a pressure canner for low acid/high risk foods. Time and temperatures are to be monitored and recorded;
  • Have a HACCP plan for documentation of all low acid/high risk foods; and
  • Have laboratory documentation for the pH and Aw of all potentially low acid/high risk foods that the PHI deems necessary to ensure the safety of the product.

6. If a hermetically sealed food product cannot be ascertained as to whether or not it is a non-hazardous or a high acid food, then the PHI may have the product sent to the Provincial laboratory for analysis of the pH and Aw. The criteria used to determine the shelf stability of the product is outlined in the Public Health Inspector Guide to Principles and Practices of  Environmental Microbiology.…

7. Two representative samples should be submitted for each like product; Aw and pH must be requested on the laboratory requisition form (1722-44).

8. All packaged food items sold at retail must meet the minimum labelling requirements as detailed in the Requirements for the Sale of Processed Foods.

9. Labelling may also be subject to the Canada Food Inspection Agency Guideline. Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising.mht.


Hazardous foods:  The Food Premises Regulation defines hazardous foods as “any food that is capable of supporting the growth of pathogenic organisms or production of the toxins of such organisms”.


Corresponding Policy: CA.80.01.114 Processed Foods
Ontario Food Premises Regulation 562
Public Health Inspector Guide to Principles and Practices of Environmental Microbiology.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising
Requirements for the Sale of Processed Foods
PHO Home Canning


Rob Thompson