How to start a home-based food business in Ontario

Launching a food business from your home kitchen just got easier in Ontario.

The Ontario government has published a guide on how to start a home-based food business, which includes an overview of public health laws that must be followed as a food operator.

To further assist budding food entrepreneurs, the government has enacted legislative adjustments that allow for greater flexibility in selling low-risk, home-prepared goods. These initiatives are part of an ongoing effort to assist small, independent enterprises in succeeding and contributing to Ontario communities.

What are low-risk food items?

Low-risk food items are generally considered non-hazardous and do not require time or temperature control. Some examples are:

  • Most breads and buns (without meat or creme filling)
  • Most baked goods (without custard)
  • Chocolate, hard candies and brittle
  • Fudge and toffees
  • Coffee beans and tea leaves
  • Granola, trail mix, nuts and seeds
  • Cakes, brownies, muffins and cookies (that don’t need refrigeration)

“Many local entrepreneurs begin with a love of food and a cherished family recipe, whether it’s grandma’s apple pie or that new take on homegrown pickles, jams, and preserves, and try to turn their passion into a successful business,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “Our government applauds them for their vision and commitment, and we are doing everything we can to assist them in seizing new opportunities without jeopardising Ontario’s strong standards for food safety.”

Low-risk foods are non-hazardous and do not require refrigeration.

They include baked foods, pickles, jellies and preserves, chocolates, hard candies and brittles, fudge and toffees, granola, trail mix, nuts and seeds, and coffee beans and tea leaves.

“Starting a home-based food business is a fantastic chance for people across Ontario to showcase their culinary innovation, establish a business for themselves, and contribute to the province’s agri-food economy,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. “Our administration is committed to helping this expanding sector of the economy and to supporting all of the good things cultivated and produced right here in Ontario.”

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