If you’re thinking of busting out the barbecue to sling some hot dogs or burgers at a public event, make sure you have the proper permits, according to Interior Health.
The organization is reminding the public that temporary events, such as festivals, fairs and fundraisers, require a food service permit if people wish to break out the grill.
Foods such as bacon, french fries, hamburgers and hot dogs are considered low risk, but still require a food service permit.
“We understand that community events are not going to be able to meet the same standards that a commercial kitchen would meet,” said Dan Byron, an environmental health officer with Interior Health. “So we have a number of guidelines that are available on our public website for people putting on these events to apply for permits to do that. A number of foods are exempt, and the requirements kind of scale up depending on the risk level of the foods that are posed.”
“…By asking people to apply for permits gives us a chance to review what they’re doing and to assist them to ensure they provide a safe product to the public.”
Permits can be easily obtained free of charge with preferably 14-days advance notice, added Byron. He also recommends completion of a FoodSafe course, which can be taken at the College of the Rockies or online.
“The Cranbrook/Kimberley area we’ve issued almost twice as many permits for temporary food events, so part of that may mean that there’s more events going on or partly due to people becoming more aware of what the requirements are,” said Byron. “Our role is really to ensure that the food served at these events are safe and to assist organizations in taking appropriate precautions to minimize the risk of illness associated with food.”
There are penalties in place if people don’t have the proper permits, but Byron added that Interior Health wishes to work with operators to make sure all the regulations are met.
“I can’t forecast what action we might take, but again, we recognize the importance of these events in our community. We want them to occur, so we will do everything we can to assist folks to meet the requirements correctly,” Byron said.
Foods that don’t require a permit include popcorn, donuts, muffins, and fresh fruit and vegetables. More information can be found online at www.interiorhealth.ca.