Health Requirements & Inspections

Food Premises

Ministry of Health COVID-19 Guidance:


Public health inspectors visit 3,200 premises in Hamilton every year. They check safe food handling practices outlined in the Ontario Food Premises Regulation.

Food premises are places that prepare and sell food including:

  • Restaurants
  • Hospital and nursing home kitchens
  • Fast food outlets
  • Supermarkets
  • Butcher shops
  • Convenience stores
  • Special events where food is served

You must have a Business License to operate a food premise in the City of Hamilton.

Food Safety Disclosure program

Under the Food Safety Inspection Disclosure program, a public health inspector posts one of three Food Safety Certificates of Inspection in a food premise:

If a green card is posted, this means that either:

  • minimum standards of the Ontario Food Premises Regulation have been met
  • non-critical infractions or minor infractions observed can be followed up during the next inspection

Minor infractions that can be followed up during the next inspection:

  • are not a direct risk for causing foodborne illness
  • include poor cleaning and sanitation, equipment and surfaces in poor repair
  • include things that are not good operating practices
  • can include things not fixed for long periods of time that can contribute to foodborne illness
  • are discussed during inspections and a specific time to fix what is wrong is set

If a yellow card is posted, this means that:

  • a critical infraction observed by the public health inspector is a significant risk for food borne illness.

Critical infractions include:

  • inadequate cooking and hot/cold holding
  • opportunity for cross contamination
  • improper hand washing
  • touching food with hands

Critical infractions are dealt with quickly and re-inspections must be done for things that cannot be permanently fixed during the initial inspection.

If a red card is posted, this means that:

  • the food premise is an immediate health risk

The public health inspector will issue a closure order at the time of inspection. A follow-up inspection must take place before re-opening the premise.

Read about the Food Safety Inspection Disclosure program (PDF, 1.43 MB).

Food premise inspection results

Check inspection results for all food premises in Hamilton at the Food Safety Zone.

Contact us

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