BC Drug and Poison Information Centre - Poison Control Service 1.800.567.8911           

Food Guidelines and Information

Local Health Authorities administer the Food Premises Regulation under the Health Act in British Columbia. To this end, they licence, inspect, and respond to complaints regarding food facilities under their jurisdiction.

  Be Food Safe poster   

Food safety training is a requirement of the Food Premises Regulation.  In BC, the FOODSAFE Level 1  course or its equivalent is recognized as meeting this requirement.  The local Health Authority administers the FOODSAFE education program in their region.  

List of equivalent FOODSAFE Level 1 courses.
For information on the FOODSAFE course equivalency process, contact Food Protection.

BCCDC Environmental Health Services provides policy and scientific advice to the local Health Authorities and public. One way this is done is by developing guidelines and food safety information that are used as a basis for programs administered by the Health Authorities. 

photo: www.befoodsafe.ca

These guidelines (below) are useful to operators of food facilities, who have the responsibility to ensure that food served to the public is safe (Part 2 of Food Safety Act).  Every operator must also have written food handling and sanitation procedures to ensure no health hazards occur at their premises (Division 6 of Food Premises Regulation)

Food Guidelines

Food Issues: Notes from the Field 

The following table lists a variety of food related issues that we have consulted on in the past.  These Notes from the Field represent the evidence and recommendations we've provided on these issues. 

Food Issue 


Description of Issue


Bakery couche (linen) Use of unwashed linen for proofing of breads in a commercial bakery Feb '14
Alcohol bitters Evaluate safety of infused (alcoholic) bitters  Mar '14
Bull kelp Evaluate harvest, processing, packaging of seaweed (bull kelp) Oct '13
Carrageenan Evaluate safety and toxicity of this additive Oct '14
FM Chocolate Use of commercially sourced chocolate in baked and molded chocolate desserts Sep '13
FM raw carob home prepared Manufacture of raw carob or cocoa chocolate desserts from raw ingredients prepared at home Sep '13
FM raw carob commercially purchased Manufacture of raw carob or cocoa chocolate desserts with  commerically purchased raw carob/chocolate powder  Mar '14
FM sunflower and flax seed oil Manufacture of flax seed oil using a piteba oil screw press Oct '13
Freezing for parasite destruction Evaluate sushi products such as imported flounder and lobster - is freezing for parasite destruction needed? Feb '14
Histamine risk in tuna Evaluate histamine risks of sous-vide cooking of tuna, and thawing of tuna at ambient temperature Feb '15
Kombucha tea fermentation Evaluate safety of a fermented kombucha tea preparation Jan '15
Marine water for commercial use What are the risks associated with marine water sourced from Burrard Inlet for use in restaurant fish tanks Oct '13
Olives, smoked and pickled Evaluate safety of commercial olives further processed by smoking and pickling Apr '14
Pasta shelf-life Provide guidelines for refrigeration of fresh and partially dried pasta Sep '13
Raw refrigerated fish in ROP Provide guidelines for packaging raw fresh fish in cryo-vak (reduced oxygen packaging) Mar '15
Scallops processing Can mantles be smoked for human consumption and can offal be used for pet food? Jul '13
Sous-vide duck breast Processes are being questioned by inspectors as the meat in center of breast is pink at service Jan '15
Sous-vide eggs Review food service of preparing eggs sous vide style that were linked to SE illnesses Jan '15
Re-useable tiffin containers Provide guidelines for the use of re-useable take-away containers for restaurant meals Jul '13
Wheatgrass and microgreens Are wheatgrass and microgreens the same risk as sprouted seeds? May '13
Rev: Apr '15
Wild (pine) mushroom foods Evaluate safety of wild mushrooms in infused oil and salts Sep '13
The information on these pages represent the work we do on behalf of the public, industry and government.  Some of this information was written for the general public and some was written in technical language for public health.

Contact us:
Food Protection Services phone 604-707-2440
NCC Environmental Health phone 604-829-2551
Poison Control Centre phone 604-682-5050 or 1-800-567-8911

Last Updated: June 5, 2015