Alberta Food Safety Regulations

Each and every restaurant in Alberta is subject to the province's food safety laws and regulations. Alberta food service businesses can compete better by ensuring they follow them. 

Alberta food safety laws

All Alberta restaurants are subject to the province’s main food safety regulation:

The Alberta Food Regulation contains a number of extremely important laws that all Alberta food service businesses must follow, outline the province’s food safety training requirements and the operation of commercial food establishments, farmers’ markets, special events and temporary food establishments, bed and breakfast establishments, and more. Should restaurants fail to comply with Alberta food safety regulations, they can be met with significant fines and even faced with closures.

Alberta Food Regulation AR 31/2006

The Alberta Food Regulation establishes the laws which all restaurants and food service businesses in the province must follow. No matter what category your business falls into or what size your restaurant is, food service businesses are held to the standards set by the Alberta Food Regulation. Failure to comply with these laws can result in serious financial penalties and the closure of your business.

Regulation AR 31/2006 covers all aspects of the food service sector in Alberta, including the requirement for all food establishments to operate with a valid permit approved by a regional health authority, and that regional health authorities have the power to suspend food establishment permits if it’s discovered that there are unsanitary conditions in the establishment.

Under the Alberta Food Regulation, establishments must ensure that they follow basic building and operating requirements for commercial food establishments, as well as follow requirements about storage, pest control, and acquiring food from approved sources or be subject to inspections. The Regulation also lays out rules about sanitation procedures, the health and hygiene of food handlers, requirements for food safety training, and the use of live animals on premises.

Farmers’ markets, special events involving temporary food establishments, low-risk home-prepared food, community organization functions, and bed and breakfasts are also covered by the Alberta Food Regulation, which outlines food handling requirements, permit requirements, and other expectations which all of these establishments or events must adhere to.

Food Retail and Foodservices Code

Rather than serve as a standalone regulation, the Food Retail and Foodservices Code is meant to serve as a supplement to the Alberta Food Regulation AR 31/2006. Together, the Food Regulation and the supplemental Code set the minimum requirements and expectations for food handling and food safety in Alberta. 

The Food Retail and Foodservices Code sets the basic premises design and construction specifications for foodservice and food retail establishments in Alberta, including the general expectations of floors which are easy to clean and sanitize, the requirement for floor drains, cleanable light fixtures design to prevent the accumulation of dirt, adequate ventilation, food storage areas as well as non-food and equipment storage, water supply, and more.

Under the Code, hand wash stations are a requirement in each and every food preparation area in the establishment, and janitorial facilities must be kept away from food handling areas. The Code also establishes expectations and requirements for control measures of food hazards including proper temperature control, packaging, storage and transportation, maintenance and sanitation of food preparation equipment, and food handler hygiene.

Perhaps most importantly for foodservice and food retail establishments is that all employees engaged in food operations and have direct contact with food should receive training and education for food hygiene, and that all managers and supervisors and their designated replacements should receive mandatory educational programs based on the level of food safety risk in their establishment.

Alberta Food Safety Training Requirements

The Alberta Food Regulation establishes the need for all restaurants and other food service businesses to have at least one employee with food safety certification when six or more food handlers (including servers) are on premises. When there are five or fewer food handlers on premises, the certified food handler is permitted to be off-site. This rule applies to virtually all businesses handling food, including bakeries, bars, cafeterias and caterers, convenience stores, food trucks, social care facilities, work camps, and more.

Alberta Public Health Inspectors are permitted to require that certain employees receive additional food safety training based on observations made during a food safety inspection, including some of these food safety courses. Alberta Food Regulation AR 31/2006 states that businesses like bed and breakfasts, farmers’ market vendors, private homes selling low-risk home prepared food, and stores handling pre-packaged foods only do not require staff with food safety certification, though they strongly recommend that employees are adequately trained.

It’s easy to have each and every one of your food handlers certified with Managing Food Safety, our nationally recognized online food training certification program. Managing Food Safety offers engaging and flexible food safety training that helps your food service business stay in compliance with Alberta food safety laws and regulations, making your next food safety inspection a breeze. Find out more about how Managing Food Safety makes food handler certification easier, saving your business time and money and making your team stronger than ever.