This consolidation is unofficial and is for reference only. For the official version of the regulations, consult the original documents on file with the Registry of Regulations, or refer to the Royal Gazette Part II. Regulations are amended frequently. Please check the list of Regulations by Act to see if there are any recent amendments to these regulations filed with the Registry that are not yet included in this consolidation. Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this electronic version, the Registry of Regulations assumes no responsibility for any discrepancies that may have resulted from reformatting. This electronic version is copyright © 2011, Province of Nova Scotia, all rights reserved. It is for your personal use and may not be copied for the purposes of resale in this or any other form.
Food Safety Regulations
made under Section 105 of the
Health Protection Act
S.N.S. 2004, c. 4
O.I.C. 2005-458 (October 14, 2005, effective November 1, 2005), N.S. Reg. 206/2005
as amended up to O.I.C. 2011-110 (March 25, 2011, effective April 1, 2011), N.S. Reg. 88/2011
[Please note: Effective April 1, 2013, these regulations are amended by N.S. Reg. 114/2013 (O.I.C. 2013-105)]
Interpretation and Application
1 These regulations may be cited as the Food Safety Regulations.
2 In these regulations,
(a) “Act” means the Health Protection Act;
(b) “adulteration” means the addition of any foreign or inferior substances to a food or food ingredient that makes it corrupt, debase[d], or impure;
(c) “consultant inspection services” means inspections that are conducted by the Department on the request of an operator;
(d) “contamination” means exposure of food to conditions that permit or may permit the introduction or the occurrence of any of the following:
(i) a disease-causing microorganism or parasite,
(ii) any biological or chemical agent,
(iii) foreign matter, residue, drugs or any other substance that may compromise food safety;
(e) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture;[Note: the reference to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has been updated in accordance with Order in Council 2006-121 under the Public Service Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 376, effective February 24, 2006.]
(f) “edible” means fit for human consumption regardless of whether the food requires preparation before being eaten or is ready to eat;
(g) “food additive” has the same meaning as in Part B of the Food and Drug Regulations (Canada);
(h) “food animal” means a ruminant, porcine, ratite or a domesticated rabbit, bird or other animal whose meat is intended for human consumption;
(i) “food hygiene” means all conditions and measures necessary to ensure food is safe and edible;
(j) “HST” means harmonized sales tax;
(k) “inspected” means inspected by the Government of Canada, the Province, any other province or territory or an official agency of those government[s] under whose authority food safety standards are established or enforced;
(l) “notifiable disease or condition” means a notifiable disease or condition as defined in Part 1 of the Act;
(m) “official tag” means a tag applied to food to indicate that the food has been held, detained or condemned by an inspector;
(n) “operator” means a person who holds a permit to operate a food establishment;
(o) “potentially hazardous” means having the potential to support the growth of pathogenic microorganisms or the production of toxins;
(p) “product” means a food product that is processed or derived in whole or in part from a specified food and that is intended for human consumption;
(q) “process” means to substantially change or alter the appearance or nature of a food, to combine with an ingredient or additive or to make foods ready-to-eat;
(r) “ready-to-eat food” means a food that is
(i) normally consumed without washing, cooking or other preparation, or
(ii) prepared into a form in which it is consumed without further processing;
(s) “sanitize” means to reduce the number of micro-organisms to a level that does not compromise food safety by means of a chemical agent or physical method;
(t) “wildlife” means wildlife as defined in the Wildlife Act.
Application of regulations
3 (1) These regulations apply to all food establishments except for all of the following:
(a) a dwelling in which food is produced that
(i) does not contain meat, fish, dairy or egg ingredients, and
(ii) has a low moisture or high sugar or salt content that inhibits the growth of micro-organisms and toxin production;
(b) a premise[s] that offers only fresh, whole, unprocessed fruit and vegetables;
(c) a premise[s] that offers only food that is prepackaged at another location and is not potentially hazardous;
(d) a roofed accommodation, as defined in the Tourist Accommodations Act, with a maximum of 4 rental units in which the owner or manager serves only breakfast to guests occupying the units, as designated in the bed and breakfast category of the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Culture Guidelines on Accommodation, published by the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism;
(e) a food establishment in which food is prepared and served by a religious or not-for-profit organization for functions or gatherings, but these regulations do apply if a function or gathering is held in conjunction with and at the site of a fair, exhibition, festival or other temporary food service event;
(f) a meat plant or meat processing plant that is registered and operated under, or exempted from the requirements, of the Meat Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act (Canada) or the Food and Drugs Act (Canada);
(g) a part of a fish or fish products processing facility that is registered, licensed and operated under the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act and the Fish Inspection Regulations made under that Act;
(h) a part of a food processing plant that manufactures, packages, labels or stores food and
(i) does not provide food directly to the consumer, or
(ii) is registered under the Food and Drugs Act (Canada);
(i) a premise[s] that is operated solely for the purposes of cutting, processing or packaging of wildlife;
(j) a day care facility, child caring facility, nursing home or residential care facility licensed through the Department of Health and Wellness or the Department of Community Services that is exempted by the Administrator;[Note: the reference to the Department of Health has been updated in accordance with Order in Council 2011-15 under the Public Service Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 376, effective January 11, 2011.]
(k) a facility licensed by the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism to serve meals that is exempted by the Administrator.[Note: the references to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage in clauses (d) and (k) have been updated in accordance with Order in Council 2011-15 under the Public Service Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 376, effective January 11, 2011.]
(2) Despite clause 3(1)(d), an owner or manager of a bed and breakfast, as designated in the bed and breakfast category of the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Culture Guidelines on Accommodation category definitions, must comply with the food hygiene training requirements in Section 28.[Note: responsibility for tourism is transferred to the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism by Order in Council 2011-15 under the Public Service Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 376, effective January 11, 2011.]
(3) The Administrator may exempt an operator who holds a permit for a type or class of food establishment from any provision of these regulations.
Codes of practice established by Administrator
4 (1) The Administrator may establish codes, standards and guidelines to support and give direction to food establishments in interpreting and complying with these regulations.
(2) If there is a conflict between a code, standard or guideline established under this Section and the provisions of the Act and these regulations, the Act and these regulations prevail.
Food Establishment Permits and Inspections
Class of permits
5 Classes of food establishment permits, the expiry dates for food establishment permits and the fees prescribed for food establishment permits are as set out in the following table:
Class of Permit
Term of Permit
Fee for Permit
2 days or longer
multiple temporary event
4 months or less
Section 5 amended: O.I.C. 2011-110, N.S. Reg. 88/2011.
Application for permit
6 A person must submit an application for a permit to the Adminstrator in a form prescribed by the Administrator and the application must include all of the following:
(a) the applicable fee prescribed in Section 5;
(b) any reasonable information required by the Administrator;
(c) the plans and specifications of the food establishment required by Section 21.
Permit non transferable
7 A permit is not transferable to any other person or to any other food establishment.
Form and posting of permit
8 (1) A permit must be in the form prescribed by the Administrator.
(2) A permit must be posted in a conspicuous location in the food establishment.
Renewal of permit
9 (1) An operator may renew a permit, other than a temporary permit, on or before the expiry date by submitting a completed renewal application to the Department on a form approved by the Administrator together with all of the following:
(a) the applicable fee prescribed in Section 5;
(b) any reasonable information required by the Administrator;
(c) the plans and specifications of the food establishment under Section 21.
(2) An operator who renews their permit later than 30 days after the permit’s expiry date must pay a late fee of $28.27 plus HST in addition to the fee required by Section 5.
Subsection 9(2) amended: O.I.C. 2011-110, N.S. Reg. 88/2011.
Non-issuance of permit
10 If the Administrator refuses to issue or renew a permit under subsection 83(1) of the Act, the refusal remains in effect until the Administrator is satisfied that the applicant is capable of operating a food establishment in accordance with these regulations.
Suspension or revocation
11 (1) If the Administrator suspends or cancels a permit under subsection 83(1) of the Act, the Administrator
(a) must provide written notice of the suspension or cancellation to the permit holder; and
(b) may serve a notice of closure on the operator and post a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place in the food establishment.
(2) An operator who receives a notice of the suspension or the cancellation of their permit must
(a) cease operation of the food establishment immediately; and
(b) close the food establishment and not reopen it until authorized by the Administrator.
(3) A person must not remove a notice that has been posted under clause (1)(b) unless authorized to do so by the Administrator.
Appeal to Minister about food establishment permit decision
12 (1) A permit holder who appeals a decision of the Administrator under Section 85 of the Act must serve the Administrator with a notice of appeal accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $226.23 no later than 30 days after the date they are advised of the Administrator’s decision.
Subsection 12(1) amended: O.I.C. 2011-110, N.S. Reg. 88/2011.
(2) The Administrator must send a copy of the notice of appeal to the chair of the appeal panel established under Section 13 no later than 5 days after the date the Administrator receives a notice of appeal.
13 (1) The Minister may establish an appeal panel to review appeals and make recommendations to the Minister on an appeal.
(2) The appeal panel must be made up of at least 3 persons, 1 of whom is a medical officer, 1 of whom is a person representing the food industry, and 1 of whom is a person representing consumers.
(3) The appeal panel must appoint a chair and must determine its own practices and procedures.
(4) The quorum for the appeal panel is 1 person.
Review by appeal panel and recommendations to Minister
14 The appeal panel must review an appeal and make a recommendation to the Minister about the appeal no later than 10 days after the date the appeal panel receives a copy of the notice of appeal.
Decision of appeal
15 The Minister must decide an appeal no later than 10 days after the date that the Minister receives the recommendations of the appeal panel.
Complying with inspector
16 (1) An operator must comply with all reasonable directions given by an inspector under the Act and these regulations.
(2) A person must not remove or alter an official tag unless directed to do so by the inspector.
(3) A food that has an official tag and is detained on the instruction of an inspector must not be handled or used without permission of an inspector.
17 (1) The Administrator may establish the frequency of inspections.
(2) The fee for consultant inspection services is $113.12 per hour plus expenses.
Subsection 17(2) amended: O.I.C. 2011-110, N.S. Reg. 88/2011.
Inspection reports available
18 The Department must make inspection reports available in electronic form for public review through a process consistent with [the] Department’s Routine Access Policy.
Design and Construction of Food Establishments and Equipment
Design and construction
19 (1) A food establishment must be located, designed, constructed and maintained to ensure all of the following:
(a) that the risk of contaminating the food is minimized;
(b) that operations are carried out in an area of the food establishment that is sanitized and appropriate to the operation;
(c) that the surfaces and materials are durable, non-toxic and are easy to maintain, clean and sanitize;
(d) [that] the design and layout allows for appropriate maintenance, cleaning, sanitizing, movement of food, personnel and protection against contamination;
(e) that there is effective protection to prevent the access and sheltering of insects, rodents and other pests.
(2) A food establishment must provide all of the following:
(a) a supply of potable hot and cold water at adequate pressure and volume with the appropriate facilities to store and distribute the water and to control the water temperature;
(b) adequately designed and appropriately located hand-washing facilities;
(c) change rooms and lunch rooms, if appropriate;
(d) drainage and waste disposal systems that are adequate for the removal of solid and liquid wastes;
(e) storage facilities that are adequate to store foods, ingredients, non-food products and chemicals.
(3) A food establishment must have lighting, ventilation, heating, refrigeration and plumbing that is adequate and appropriate to the specific activities of the food establishment.
20 (1) A food establishment must have washroom facilities for staff and washroom facilities for the public available in a convenient location, unless exempted by the Administrator.
(2) A washroom facility must be constructed, equipped, and designed in accordance with the Nova Scotia Building Code.
(3) If an inspector gives written approval, the same washroom facilities may be used for both staff and the public.
Construction or renovation of food establishment
21 A person must not begin to construct a new food establishment or renovate or expand an existing food establishment until construction plans and specifications are submitted to and approved by an inspector.
Living and sleeping quarters
22 All living and sleeping quarters that are located in the same building as a food establishment, such as in a dwelling, must be separated from rooms and areas used for the food establishment’s operations by floor-to-ceiling partitioning and solid self-closing doors.
Design, construction, installation and maintenance of equipment
23 (1) Equipment and utensils used to process, prepare, store, serve, sell or display food must be designed, constructed, installed and maintained to
(a) protect food from contamination; and
(b) allow adequate cleaning, sanitizing and maintenance.
(2) Equipment used to cook, heat-treat, cool, store, display or freeze food must be designed to
(a) achieve the required food temperature as rapidly as is necessary to maintain food safety; and
(b) control temperature, humidity, air flow and any other condition that is likely to have a detrimental effect on food safety.
(3) The equipment referred to in subsections (1) and (2) must be made of materials that are non-toxic to food.
Equipment for waste and recyclables
24 (1) Food establishments must provide equipment or containers to hold and handle liquid and solid wastes and recyclables.
(2) Equipment or containers used for wastes and recyclables must be clearly identified or labelled and used exclusively for that purpose.
Food Establishment Personnel
Illness of personnel
25 (1) A member of the personnel of a food establishment must report an illness or condition to the operator if they have been diagnosed with or believe or should reasonably suspect that they are infected with a notifiable disease or condition that is transmissible through food must report the illness or condition to the operator. [sic]
(2) The operator must exclude or restrict any personnel who has notified them, or who is reasonably suspected of having a notifiable disease, from activities in accordance with Section 92 of the Act.
(3) A medical officer may remove an exclusion or restriction imposed under subsection (2).
Notification of medical officer
26 An operator must notify a medical officer if any personnel meet any of the following:
(a) the person has been diagnosed with a notifiable disease or condition transmissible by food;
(b) the person is known or suspected of being infected with a notifiable disease or condition transmissible by food;
(c) the person has notified the operator under subsection 25(1).
Personnel policies and procedures
27 A food establishment must develop and demonstrate policies and procedures for personnel that ensure that a person entering a food handling area or engaging in an operation in a food establishment who comes into contact with food meets all of the following:
(a) the person is clean and sanitary and shows good personal hygiene;
(b) the person wears sanitary clothing and footwear;
(c) the person takes adequate measures to prevent food from being contaminated by hair;
(d) the person washes their hands as often as is necessary to prevent contamination of food;
(e) the person removes any object or substance from their body that might fall into or otherwise contaminate food;
(f) the person refrains from any behaviour or practice that risks contaminating food.
Food hygiene training
28 (1) An operator must successfully complete a food hygiene training program recognized by the Administrator and provide proof of this to the Administrator upon request.
(2) If an operator is absent from a food establishment, the operator must ensure that a member of the personnel who has successfully completed a food hygiene training program recognized by the Administrator is present.
(3) A person in a food establishment who comes into contact with food must
(a) be trained or instructed in food hygiene to a level appropriate to the activity that the person performs; and
(b) provide confirmation of their training to an inspector on request.
Controlling Hazards to Food Safety
Maintenance, cleaning, and sanitation programs
29 (1) A food establishment must have an appropriate program to address maintenance, cleaning and sanitation to control the risk of contamination of food, equipment, utensils and other facilities in the food establishment.
(2) A maintenance, cleaning and sanitation program must result in all of the following:
(a) adequate maintenance;
(b) adequate cleaning and sanitizing of the food establishment and equipment;
(c) adequate monitoring of the effectiveness of the program;
(d) adequate management of all waste streams in and surrounding the food establishment;
(e) effective control of insects, rodents, and other pests.
(3) A food establishment must provide appropriate facilities and equipment to implement the maintenance, cleaning and sanitation program and must identify in their program the cleaning and sanitizing agents used in the food establishment, including their concentration and uses.
Source and types of food
30 An operator must ensure that all food in their food establishment is obtained from a source that is subject to inspection or is food that is exempted by these regulations.
Control of meat
31 (1) Uninspected meats and meat products are not permitted in a food establishment.
(2) If an operator who holds a permit is exempt from subsection (1) by the Administrator under subsection 3(3), an operator may have wildlife carcasses in a food establishment for the purpose of processing the meat from the wildlife carcass if all of the following conditions are met:
(a) the wildlife carcass is clean, edible and will not contaminate other food, equipment or facilities;
(b) the wildlife carcass, or any part of it, is
(i) stored and processed so that the it does not come into direct contact with other food; and
(ii) not processed in the same room of the food establishment at the same time as food that has been inspected or processed in accordance with these regulations;
(c) after the wildlife carcass is processed, all equipment is sanitized before being used for processing inspected meat;
(d) the operator keeps a record, in a manner prescribed by the Administrator, of every wildlife carcass received by the food establishment;
(e) the operator provides a record kept under clause (d) to an inspector or a conservation officer appointed under the Wildlife Act on their request.
Processing of meat and meat products
32 An operator that processes meat or meat products must ensure that all of the following are complied with:
(a) the meat or meat products conform to the standards prescribed by the Food and Drugs Act (Canada), the Meat Inspection Act (Canada) and the Meat Inspection Act (Nova Scotia);
(b) ready-to-eat meat products are processed so that they are not contaminated; and
(c) a meat or meat product that is returned to a food establishment is not repackaged, reprocessed or sold unless it is reinspected and approved by an inspector.
Food temperature controls
33 (1) An operator must ensure that the temperature of food is controlled so that the food does not deteriorate or become inedible or unsafe.
(2) The operator must ensure that all refrigeration and heat-holding equipment has a temperature measuring device that is accurate and in good repair.
Care of food and food ingredients
34 An operator must ensure that a food establishment is operated so that all food and food ingredients are
(a) processed, manufactured, handled, prepared, packaged, served, sold, offered for sale or distribution free of charge, dispensed, displayed and stored in a manner that prevents contamination and adulteration; and
(b) labelled to indicate the contents, its composition, and directions for use.
Quality assurance systems
35 (1) If directed by the Administrator, a food establishment must have a quality assurance system in place that identifies, implements, monitors and verifies critical factors in the processing and preparation of food and that effectively prevents contamination or adulteration of food and ensures food safety.
(2) A quality assurance system must do all of the following:
(a) provide mechanisms to identify specific ingredients or food additives and the amounts used in a food;
(b) provide mechanisms to control the addition of food additives and nutrients to meet the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act (Canada);
(c) ensure that information on a food label is complete and accurately represents the food;
(d) ensure that controls are put in place to prevent food mislabelling.
Deviation or defect in quality assurance system
36 If directed by the Administrator, a food establishment must have procedures in place for when a deviation or defect that could affect food safety occurs in their quality assurance program
(a) to identify and evaluate food safety;
(b) to isolate foods; and
(c) that set out corrective actions to be taken and ensure that changes are made to the quality assurance system.
Maintenance of quality assurance system records
37 (1) If directed by the Administrator, a food establishment must maintain records that demonstrate the quality assurance system used to ensure food safety in the processing or preparation of a food.
(2) Records maintained under subsection (1) must be made available when requested by an inspector.
Serving and re-selling unused food
38 (1) A potentially hazardous food that is served or sold to a purchaser and is unused or returned by the purchaser must not be served again or resold.
(2) A food may be served again or resold if it meets all of the following:
(a) it is not potentially hazardous;
(b) it is individually packaged;
(c) it is unopened and in its original container.
Live animals not permitted in food establishments
39 (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), an operator must not permit any live animal to be in a food establishment.
(2) An operator may permit the following live animals to be in a food establishment in the circumstances indicated:
(a) a guide animal, if permitting the guide animal to enter does not pose a risk of contaminating the food; and
(b) edible fish, crustaceans, shellfish or live fish in an aquarium.
Personal hygiene and smoking in food establishment
40 (1) A person must not smoke or chew tobacco in an area of a food establishment where food is processed, prepared, labelled, packaged, stored or handled.
(2) A person who enters a food manufacturing, preparation, processing or handling area in a food establishment must be properly clothed and meet the personnel hygiene policies and procedures established under Section 27.
Handling food complaints about food safety
41 A food establishment must establish a system for effectively handling and investigating complaints about the safety of their food.
Testing, Inspection and Contaminated Food
Sampling and testing food
42 The Administrator may require an operator to implement sampling and testing procedures to demonstrate any of the following:
(a) that food is not contaminated;
(b) that an established procedure does not result in the adulteration of food; and
(c) that compositional standards set by government agencies and marketing boards are met.
Inspector detaining and condemning foods
43 (1) An inspector who reasonably believes that a food in a food establishment is adulterated or contaminated must do one of the following:
(a) detain the food and securely attach an official tag bearing the words “Nova Scotia Held”;
(b) condemn the food and have it disposed of in a manner that is satisfactory to the Administrator.
(2) An inspector who detains a food may submit samples to a laboratory designated by the Administrator for testing.
Provision of samples to an inspector
44 At the request of an inspector, an operator of a food establishment must, without charge, provide the inspector with samples of a food, ingredient, food additive, container or packaging material used or to be used in the manufacturing, processing or preparation of food, for the purposes of laboratory examination.
Recall of food
45 (1) If directed by the Administrator, an operator must establish
(a) a written procedure that ensures the timely and complete recall of any lot of a food; and
(b) a food distribution record to enable the operator to recall any lot of a food.
(2) Food returned to a food establishment as part of a recall, must be held for disposal under the direction and supervision of an inspector.
Contaminated or adulterated food
46 An operator must not sell, offer for sale, supply, prepare, process, package, display, serve, dispense or store food that is contaminated or adulterated.
Packaging, Storing and Transporting Food
Labelling and packaging food
47 (1) An operator must ensure that all food in their food establishment is
(a) labelled in accordance with these regulations, the Food and Drugs Act (Canada) and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (Canada); and
(b) labelled and identified as being from a source that is subject to inspection.
(2) An operator must
(a) provide adequate food safety information to enable the purchaser to handle, store, process, prepare or display the food safely; and
(b) ensure that refrigerated, prepared ready-to-eat food that may be held for longer than 24 hours is clearly marked at the time it is prepared to indicate the date by which the food must be consumed.
(3) An operator must ensure that containers, materials, and procedures used for food packaging and labelling do all of the following:
(a) prevent contamination of the food;
(b) provide an environment that adequately controls contamination;
(c) protect the food from damage likely to make the food inedible.
Storing and transporting food
48 (1) An operator must ensure that all food is stored and transported under conditions that do all of the following:
(a) protect the food from contamination;
(b) provide an environment that adequately controls contamination;
(c) protect the food from damage likely to make the food inedible.
(2) A conveyance or container used that is used to transport or store food must be designed, constructed and maintained so that they do all of the following:
(a) provide the food with adequate protection from contamination;
(b) allow adequate cleaning and, if an inspector considers it necessary, sanitization;
(c) adequately maintain temperatures, relative humidity and other conditions necessary to protect food from contamination as a result of harmful microbiological growth;
(d) permit the adequate separation of different foods from one another and from non-food items if necessary.
(3) An operator must ensure that all food received at their food establishment is transported in accordance with subsections (1) and (2).
Storing food ingredients and food packaging
49 (1) An operator must ensure that food ingredients and food packaging materials must be stored in a dry storage room or designated area that
(a) protects the food ingredient or food packaging material from contamination; and
(b) provides an environment that is dry and in which moisture and humidity are controlled.
(2) Before being placed in the dry storage room or designated area, opened packages of food ingredients and food packaging materials must be
(a) transferred to clean, suitably covered containers or be sealed and securely closed; and
(b) clearly identified as to content.
Storage of articles not used in food preparation or processing
50 An operator must ensure that articles, equipment or materials not associated with the processing or preparation of food are stored
(a) separately from areas where food is processed or prepared; and
(b) in a manner that does not contaminate food or food preparation areas.
Food establishment licenses continued
51 A valid food establishment licence issued under the regulations respecting eating establishments, N.S. Reg. 72/78, or the regulations made by a Board of Health respecting food shops continues in force as if it were a permit issued under these regulations until March 31 immediately after the date these regulations come into force.
Delayed application of provisions
52 (1) The following provisions do not apply to a food establishment that did not require a food shop licence before these regulations come into force and is in operation on the date these regulations come into force, until 1 year after these regulations come into force:
(a) clauses 19(1)(a) and (c);
(b) clauses 19(2)(b), (c), (d), and (e);
(c) Section 22.
(2) The following provisions do not apply to a food establishment that is in operation on the date these regulations come into force, until the dates specified:
(a) Sections 35 and 36, 1 year after the date these regulations come into force;
(b) Section 28, 2 years after the date these regulations come into force.