Responsibility for the inspection of retail food service operations was transferred to the Department of Agriculture in 1997.
Food Safety Specialists holding the Canadian Certificate of Public Health Inspection
are responsible for the inspection of all retail food outlets in the province.
Today (2007) the program consists of a director, a program manager, three regional managers and 19 inspectors
along with administrative support.
The program is responsible for ensuring compliance with
government acts, regulations and policies related to food
safety. The inspectors conduct inspections and audits on
food service establishments using risk based assessments.
All food service operations including restaurants, food shops, school cafeterias,
daycare kitchens, hospital and long term care homes, summer camps, temporary events must
have a permit before they can open. Approvals are based on the evaluation of floor plans,
sanitary inspections, food safety plans and food handling education.
The inspectors work closely with the Department of Health Promotion and Protection
to investigate food borne illness and the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
to assist in food recalls and alerts. Food safety education plays a vital role in the program.
In addition to their food safety responsibilities the Food Safety Specialists perform infection control inspections in
long term care homes as well as daycares.
They also conduct environmental inspections in summer camps
with a view towards communicable disease control and safety.
The public health background of the specialists enable them to play key roles in pandemic situations
involving quarantines as well as in disaster situations such as hurricanes and other events that can lead
to major disease outbreaks.