The Middlesex-London Health Unit is issuing a caution to London residents about individuals and businesses that are advertising their baking and cooking services on social networking websites, such as Facebook and Kijiji.
Several of these businesses operate out of uninspected kitchens and may not meet food safety requirements under the Food Premises Regulation. These businesses have a legal responsibility to notify the health unit they are operating according to the Health Protection and Promotion Act. If they are operating in London, they are also required to have a City of London business license.
“People may not realize that food prepared in an uninspected kitchen could pose an increased risk to your health. It isn’t because of bad intentions, it’s just that people may not know the requirements that are in place when it comes to preparing food for others to eat,” said David Pavletic, manager of Environmental Health for Food Safety with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, in a news release. “Unless our public health inspectors have been to a particular kitchen, have conducted a full inspection, and have spoken to the operator, there’s really no way to know that the person preparing food is following good food safety practices when preparing food for the public.”
With shopping, office lunches and cookie exchanges, there are more and more demands on residents’ time during the holidays. While hiring someone to do their Christmas baking, cooking or catering may seem like a time saver, it’s important to make sure the business hired have been inspected by the health unit. Inspected food premises will display a DineSafe sign prominently, which indicates the business’ status during their most recent inspection: green for pass, yellow for conditional pass, or red for closed.
People can also check the inspection status of businesses or food premises they interact with online by visiting the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s DineSafe website at www.dinesafemiddlesexlondon.ca or by contacting a Public Health Inspector at 519-663-5317, ext. 2300.