Food Premises Licensing and Inspection

A valid licence is required to operate a food premises or to prepare and/or serve food to the public at any location in PEI. The licence expires each year on March 31st. Apply for a Licence to Operate a Food Premises. 

Environmental Health Officers in PEI regularly inspect a licensed food premises to ensure it meets the minimum standards set out in the Public Health Act and Food Premises Regulations. The inspection report provided to the operator confirms they are in compliance with the regulations or clearly states corrective action on items not meeting the standards. Satisfactory indicates the operation meets minimum standards. View the results of each inspection at Food Premises Inspection Reports.

Do I operate a food premises?

If you handle unpackaged food that will be served to the public, you are operating a food premises that must be licensed and inspected. A food premises is any place where food is:

  • manufactured, processed or prepared;
  • packaged, stored, or handled;
  • distributed or transported; or
  • served, offered for sale or sold, including sold in a food vending machine.

A food premises is a 

  • restaurant, dining room, café or take-out;
  • convenience store or grocery store; 
  • caterer, retail bakery or meat vendor; 
  • brewery, winery or distillery
  • food vendor at a farmers’ market, craft fair, special event or fundraising event

Not-for-profit exemption: A Class 4 licence (no fee) is required for a food premises owned, operated or leased by religious organizations, service clubs, and non-profit organizations to prepare and serve high-risk food such as sandwiches, meat dishes and casseroles or to host large fundraising dinners. A licence is not required where low-risk foods, i.e. sweets, muffins, loaves, etc., are prepared or served by a non-profit group.

How often will my operation be inspected?

A food premises may be inspected from one to three times per year, depending on: 

  • the type and volume of food prepared and served;
  • food preparation and processing practices;
  • sanitation and condition of equipment and facility;
  • food safety knowledge of management and staff; or
  • past compliance with the PEI Public Health Act  and Food Premises Regulations.

Please note: An immediate inspection may be necessary following a report of a food-borne illness (food poisoning). 

What is involved in a food premises inspection?

The primary goal of an inspection is to prevent cases of food poisoning.  Environmental health officers inspect each food premises to ensure:

  • Food is stored, prepared, held and served at safe temperatures;
  • Facility, equipment and contact surfaces are properly maintained and in clean, sanitary condition; and
  • Food handlers practice good hygiene and are properly trained in food safety. Register for a Food Safety Course

A food premise license holder must have successfully completed a food safety course recognized by Environmental Health. If the license holder is absent from the food premises, at least one employee present in the food premise when food is being processed must have successfully completed a food safety course.

What if a food premises does not meet minimum standards?

The Environmental Health Officer has the power to immediately intervene or require corrective action where an inspection reveals a condition exists in the food premises that is or may become dangerous to public health.

If corrective action is required, the report will list the items requiring correction and the result will be Unsatisfactory: Re-inspection required.

  • If the follow-up inspection reveals items were corrected, the establishment will be granted a Satisfactory on the report.
  • If the follow-up inspection reveals items were not corrected, a warning letter may be issued and the environmental health officer will re-inspect.

If the condition fails to meet a prescribed standard in relation to health, injury or illness, the Chief Public Health Officer may issue a Health Order. Where a condition exists that places the health of the public in immediate danger, the inspection may result in immediate Closure

How do I report a complaint about a food borne illness (food poisoning)?

Contact Environmental Health at (902) 368-4970 or toll free at 1 (800) 958-6400.

Published date: 
November 13, 2018
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Environmental Health
2nd Floor Sullivan Building
Fitzroy Street
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Telephone: 902-368-4970
Toll Free: 1-800-958-6400

envhealth@ihis.org