|This archived statute consolidation is current to October 27, 2010 and includes changes enacted and in force by that date. For the most current information, click here.|
|This Act has "Not in Force" sections. See the Table of Legislative Changes.|
|Part 1 — Food Safety|
|2||Responsibility for safe food|
|3||No sale of contaminated food|
|Part 2 — Licences|
|4||Designation of food establishment|
|5||Licences for designated food establishments|
|6||Summary licence action|
|7||Compliance with licence terms, restrictions and conditions|
|Part 3 — Food Safety Inspections|
|8||Appointment of inspectors|
|9||General inspection powers|
|10||Evidence of authority|
|11||Prohibition notices by inspectors|
|12||Seizure and destruction of food|
|Part 4 — General|
|14||Sections 4 and 5 of the Offence Act do not apply|
|17||Documentary and certificate evidence|
|18||Inspector may seize offence related things|
|19||Seizure of contaminated food under section 18|
|21||Delegation of minister's powers and duties|
|23||Power to make regulations|
|24||Not in Force|
1 In this Act:
"contaminate" means to expose to conditions that permit
(a) the introduction of foreign matter, including filth, a poisonous substance or a pest,
(b) the introduction or multiplication of disease-causing micro-organisms or parasites, or
(c) the introduction or production of toxins;
"food" means food or drink for human consumption, and includes
(a) any substance or thing that is manufactured, sold or represented for use as food or drink for human consumption,
(b) any substance or thing that is manufactured, sold or represented for use as an additive, ingredient or processing aid in a substance or thing referred to in paragraph (a), and
(c) any agricultural or aquatic product that is grown, raised, cultivated, harvested or kept for the purpose of producing food or drink for human consumption;
"food establishment" means any place where, or any vehicle in which, in the ordinary course of business, food is grown, raised, cultivated, kept, harvested, produced, manufactured, slaughtered, processed, prepared, packaged, distributed, transported or sold, or is stored or handled for any of those purposes;
"inspection item" means anything required for or relevant to a food safety inspection conducted by an inspector under Part 3, including any food, plant, animal, soil, record, equipment, substance or other thing, whether solid, liquid, gas or a combination of any of them;
"inspector" means an inspector appointed under section 8 to the extent the inspector can act within the powers, functions, terms and conditions of the inspector's appointment under that section;
"licence" includes a renewal of a licence;
"operator" means a manager, an owner or a lessee of a food establishment;
"premises" means lands and structures, or either of them, and includes water and vehicles;
"sell" includes agree to sell and offer or display for sale;
"vehicle" includes a boat, ship, vessel, aircraft, train, railway car or equipment, motor vehicle, all terrain vehicle, trailer or other movable structure.
Part 1 — Food Safety
2 An operator is responsible for ensuring that the food in his or her food establishment is safe for human consumption.
3 An operator must not sell or distribute to a person any item of food that is contaminated or otherwise unfit for human consumption.
Part 2 — Licences
4 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, designate a type or class of food establishment as being subject to this Part.
(2) A person who operates a food establishment of a type or class designated under subsection (1) must hold a licence issued under section 5.
(3) A designation under subsection (1), in relation to food establishments where animals are slaughtered or processed for food purposes, may be limited to a specified geographical area in British Columbia.
5 (1) In accordance with the regulations, the minister may issue licences to persons for the operation of designated food establishments.
(2) A person to whom a licence is issued under subsection (1) must pay the prescribed licence fee in accordance with the regulations.
(3) It is a condition of a licence issued under subsection (1) that the licence holder comply with this Act and the regulations.
(4) The minister may
(a) amend, add or impose terms, restrictions or conditions on a licence issued under subsection (1), and
(b) suspend, cancel or refuse to renew a licence.
(5) A licence issued under subsection (1) is not transferable.
6 If the minister has reasonable grounds to believe that the operation of a designated food establishment poses an immediate risk to the health or safety of any person, the minister may, without notice and for a period of up to 45 days,
(a) add or impose terms, restrictions or conditions on the licence issued under section 5,
(b) amend terms, restrictions or conditions of the licence, or
(c) suspend the licence.
7 A person to whom a licence is issued under this Act must comply with all terms, restrictions and conditions of that licence.
Part 3 — Food Safety Inspections
8 (1) The minister may appoint persons, or persons within a class of persons, to be inspectors.
(2) In an appointment under subsection (1), the minister may
(a) limit the powers and functions that an inspector may exercise under this Act, and
(b) make the appointment subject to terms and conditions.
9 (1) To determine whether there is compliance with this Act and the regulations, an inspector may do any of the following:
(a) enter at reasonable times the premises of a food establishment or any place that the inspector believes on reasonable grounds is being used as a food establishment;
(b) inspect the premises and the equipment, facilities and food in or on those premises;
(c) make a record, including a record on film, audio tape, video tape or otherwise, of the premises and the equipment, facilities and food in or on those premises;
(d) suspend the operation of any enterprise or activity in or on those premises;
(e) stop and inspect a vehicle in which the inspector believes on reasonable grounds there is food or an inspection item to which this Act or the regulations apply;
(f) open any container that the inspector believes on reasonable grounds to contain an inspection item;
(g) require to be produced for inspection, or for the purpose of obtaining copies of it or extracts from it, any record that the inspector believes on reasonable grounds contains information relevant to the administration of this Act and the regulations;
(h) require to be produced for inspection any food or other inspection item;
(i) take and remove samples of any inspection item;
(j) examine or test samples referred to in paragraph (i), or have either of these things done;
(k) take any other steps the inspector considers necessary.
(2) An operator must pay the prescribed fee, if any, for an inspection of the food establishment under subsection (1) or for any action taken under paragraph (g), (j) or (k) of that subsection.
(3) The prescribed fee under subsection (2) must be paid to the government in the prescribed manner or as provided by regulation under section 23 (2) (p).
(4) The authority under subsection (1) must not be used to enter a private dwelling except with the consent of the occupant or the authority of a warrant under subsection (5).
(5) If satisfied by evidence given under oath or affirmation that
(a) the reason for entry described in subsection (1) (a) exists in relation to a private dwelling,
(b) entry to the private dwelling is necessary for any purpose related to carrying out an inspection under subsection (1), and
(c) entry to the private dwelling has been refused or there are reasonable grounds for believing that it will be refused,
a justice may issue a warrant authorizing an inspector or a peace officer to enter the private dwelling and conduct the inspection in relation to those parts of the private dwelling believed to be used as a food establishment.
(6) An inspector or peace officer acting under the authority of a warrant under subsection (5) may not use force to execute the warrant unless the use of force is specifically authorized in the warrant.
(7) In this section, "private dwelling" means a structure that is used as a private residence or a residential accommodation within any other structure.
10 An inspector must, on request, produce to a person whose premises the inspector enters, identification provided by the minister for this purpose.
11 (1) If an inspector finds on inspection that this Act and the regulations have not been complied with, the inspector may prohibit the sale or distribution of any specified food from the premises of a food establishment.
(2) If, in the inspector's opinion, the equipment or methods used in a food establishment are unsanitary or unfit for the growing, raising, cultivating, keeping, harvesting, producing, manufacturing, slaughtering, processing, preparing, packaging, distributing, marking, storing, handling, displaying or transporting of food, the inspector may prohibit use of that equipment or those methods.
(3) The inspector may make a prohibition under subsection (1) or (2) subject to any terms and conditions that the inspector considers appropriate.
(4) The inspector must serve an operator with notice of a prohibition under subsection (1) or (2), including any terms and conditions imposed under subsection (3).
(5) A person receiving notice under subsection (4) must comply with that notice.
12 (1) An inspector who believes on reasonable grounds that food
(a) does not meet a prescribed standard for that food, or
(b) is contaminated or otherwise unfit for human consumption,
(c) seize the food or have it seized, and
(d) detain it, or have it detained, for examination or inspection that the inspector considers necessary to determine whether that standard has been met or whether the food is contaminated or unfit for human consumption.
(2) If the examination or inspection indicates that all prescribed standards have been met and the food is uncontaminated and is fit for human consumption, the inspector must notify the owner or person from whom the food was seized and release it to that owner or person.
(3) If the owner or person referred to in subsection (2) does not reclaim the food, the inspector may have it detained, denatured, disposed of or destroyed.
(4) If the examination or inspection indicates that a prescribed standard has not been met or that the food is contaminated or unfit for human consumption,
(a) the inspector may detain and mark the food, or have either done,
(b) the inspector may condemn the food and order that it be quarantined, decontaminated, denatured, disposed of or destroyed, and
(c) the minister may order the recall of that food if any has been sold or distributed.
(5) Notice of an order issued under subsection (4) (b) or (c) must be served on the operator affected by the order.
(6) A person receiving notice under subsection (5) must comply with that notice.
(7) The owner and any person entitled to or in possession of food seized, detained, marked, condemned, quarantined, decontaminated, denatured, disposed of, destroyed or recalled under this section are jointly and severally liable to the government for all expenses incurred in doing any of those things.
(8) The expenses referred to in subsection (7) constitute a debt due to the government and are recoverable by action in any court of competent jurisdiction.
Part 4 — General
13 (1) In this section:
"action", in relation to a licence, means
(a) a refusal to issue a licence under section 5 (1),
(b) an amendment, addition or imposition, under section 5 (4) (a), of restrictions, terms or conditions, or
(c) a suspension or cancellation, or a refusal to renew a licence, under section 5 (4) (b);
"decision maker" means the minister or an inspector who makes a decision in respect of an action or summary action;
"summary action" means
(a) a summary licence action under section 6,
(b) a prohibition order under section 11 (1) or (2), or
(c) a recall order under section 12 (4) (c);
"written response" means a written response referred to in subsection (2) (b).
(2) Twenty days before taking an action or as soon as practicable after taking a summary action, a decision maker must give the person who is subject to the action or summary action
(a) written reasons for the action or summary action, and
(b) written notice that the person may give a written response to the decision maker setting out reasons why the decision maker should act under subsection (4) (a), (b) or (c).
(3) A person who chooses to give a written response referred to in subsection (2) (b) must deliver that response to the decision maker no later than 15 days after receiving the written reasons and notice referred to in that subsection.
(4) On receipt of a written response, the decision maker may do any of the following that the decision maker considers would be appropriate to give proper effect to section 5, 6, 11 or 12:
(a) in the case of an action, delay or suspend the implementation of the action until the decision maker makes a decision under paragraph (c);
(b) in the case of a summary action, suspend the summary action until the decision maker makes a decision under paragraph (c);
(c) confirm, rescind, vary or substitute the action or summary action.
(5) A decision maker must not act under subsection (4) (a) or (b) unless the decision maker is satisfied that
(a) further time is needed to consider the written response,
(b) the written response sets out facts or arguments that, if confirmed, would establish reasonable grounds for the decision maker to rescind, vary or substitute the action or summary action under subsection (4) (c), and
(c) it is reasonable to conclude that
(i) if the delay or suspension is granted, no one's health or safety will be placed at risk, and
(ii) the person who is subject to the action or summary action will suffer a significant loss during the proposed delay or suspension, if the delay or suspension is not granted.
(6) On acting or declining to act under subsection (4), a decision maker must give written reasons to the person who is subject to the action or summary action.
(7) The person who is subject to the action or summary action may not give the decision maker further written response concerning an action or summary action on or after receipt of written reasons under subsection (6).
14 Sections 4 and 5 of the Offence Act do not apply to this Act or the regulations.
15 (1) A person who contravenes section 3, 4 (2), 7, 11 (5) or 12 (6) or subsection (2) or (4) of this section commits an offence.
(2) When applying for a licence under this Act or when requested, ordered or directed by an inspector to supply information, a person must not supply false or misleading information.
(3) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (2) if, at the time the information was supplied, the person did not know that it was false or misleading and, with the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have known that it was false or misleading.
(4) A person must not obstruct, impede or refuse to admit an inspector or peace officer who is performing duties and exercising powers given under this Act.
(5) If a corporation commits an offence under subsection (1), an employee, officer, director or agent of the corporation who authorizes, permits or acquiesces in the commission of the offence also commits an offence.
(6) Subsection (5) applies whether or not the corporation is prosecuted for the offence.
16 (1) An individual who commits an offence under this Act is liable to,
(a) on a first conviction, a fine of not more than $25 000 for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues,
(b) on each subsequent conviction, a fine of not more than $50 000 for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues,
(c) imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or
(d) both the fine mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) and the imprisonment mentioned in paragraph (c).
(2) A corporation that commits an offence under this Act is liable to,
(a) on a first conviction, a fine of not more than $100 000 for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues,
(b) on each subsequent conviction, a fine of not more than $200 000 for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues.
(3) When sentencing a person convicted of an offence under this Act, the court may order the offender to pay compensation or make restitution to the government or a person for the actual loss or damage caused by or arising out of the commission of the offence, including, without limitation, compensation or restitution for
(a) any costs incurred in connection with any inspection related to investigation of the offence, and
(b) any costs incurred in relation to investigation of the offence.
(4) When sentencing a person convicted of an offence under this Act, the court may order that any food by or in relation to which the offence was committed is, without compensation to any person, forfeited to the government and the food may be disposed of or destroyed as the minister may direct.
(5) An order for compensation or restitution under subsection (3) or forfeiture under subsection (4) is in addition to and not in place of any other fine or penalty under this Act.
(6) If an order is made in favour of the government or a person under subsection (3), the government or person may, by filing the order in a registry of the Supreme Court, enter as a judgment the amount ordered to be paid and that judgment is enforceable against the offender in the same manner as if it were a judgment against that offender in civil proceedings in that court.
(7) Nothing in this section precludes the government or any person from taking any civil action or exercising any right of recovery against a person who commits an offence under this Act.
17 (1) A copy of a document granted or issued by an inspector or other person authorized under this Act, and certified by the inspector or other person as a true copy is, without proof of that inspector's or person's signature, appointment or authorization,
(a) evidence of the document, and
(b) evidence that the person granting or issuing the document was authorized to do so.
(2) In any prosecution under this Act, a certificate as to the results of an analysis that is signed, or purports to be signed, by an analyst is evidence of the facts stated in the certificate and conclusive evidence of the authority of the person giving or making the certificate without proof of the person's signature, appointment or authorization.
(3) A person against whom a certificate under subsection (2) is produced may, with leave of the court, require the attendance of the analyst who signed the certificate, for the purpose of cross examination.
(4) In subsections (2) and (3), "analyst" means an analyst designated by the minister for the purpose of conducting analyses or tests under this Act.
18 If, on inspection under Part 3, an inspector has reasonable grounds for believing that an offence under this Act has been committed, the inspector may seize anything, whether an inspection item or not, that may constitute evidence of the offence.
19 (1) Sections 23 (4) and 24 to 24.2 of the Offence Act do not apply in relation to contaminated food that is seized under section 18 of this Act from a food establishment, other than a food establishment of a class prescribed by regulation under section 23 (2) (x).
(2) If under section 18 contaminated food is seized from a food establishment, other than a food establishment of a class prescribed by regulation under section 23 (2) (x), that food is forfeited to the government and may be disposed of or destroyed as the minister may direct and without compensation to any person.
20 If an inspector or the minister has reason to believe that there is or will be non-compliance with a notice of prohibition under section 11 or with an order under section 12 (4), the inspector or minister may apply to the Supreme Court for an injunction restraining a person from doing anything that is prohibited and, until final disposition of the action, the court may grant an interim injunction.
21 (1) Subject to the regulations, the minister may delegate to any person or class of persons any of the minister's powers, duties and functions under this Act, except the power set out in section 22 (a).
(2) The minister may include any limits or conditions the minister considers advisable with respect to a delegation under subsection (1).
22 The minister may do either or both of the following:
(a) prescribe certificates, stamps, marks, tags, labels and forms for use under this Act;
(b) specify certificates, stamps, marks, tags, labels and forms for use under this Act.
23 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:
(a) establishing standards for food and food establishments, and for the growing, raising, cultivating, keeping, harvesting, producing, manufacturing, slaughtering, processing, preparing, packaging, marking, handling, distributing, transporting, storing, displaying or selling of food, providing for the maintenance of those standards and providing for the duties of inspectors in relation to these matters;
(b) respecting methods to be followed and equipment to be used in growing, raising, cultivating, keeping, harvesting, producing, manufacturing, slaughtering, processing, preparing, packaging, marking, handling, distributing, transporting, storing, displaying or selling of food;
(c) establishing requirements for control, supervision and management in a food establishment and providing for systems to ascertain whether the food establishment is in compliance with this Act and the regulations, including, without limitation, reporting systems under which an operator must deliver reports to an inspector on a regular basis, as prescribed;
(d) respecting design, construction, alteration, equipment and sanitation of food establishments, requiring approval of design and construction plans for food establishments or proposed food establishments and prohibiting or restricting the uses of a food establishment;
(e) providing for measures to be taken to prevent contamination or spoilage of food, establishing types and levels of bacteria, antibacterial agents and other substances or agents that may contaminate food or do not occur naturally in it, requiring the treatment of food for the purpose of destroying pathogenic bacteria and prescribing the manner or methods of that treatment;
(f) respecting the development, establishment, implementation and operation of one or more food safety programs, including, without limitation,
(i) developing and providing educational, research and promotional material or training respecting food safety,
(ii) establishing or authorizing one or more bodies or organizations to administer food safety programs,
(iii) developing supervisory programs of, or systems for inspection of, records, premises and products of food establishments other than those food establishments required to be licensed under this Act,
(iv) prescribing fees to be paid by operators to run and maintain food safety programs, and
(v) other matters the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary for the administration of food safety programs;
(g) providing the means to ensure compliance with the regulations by
(i) providing for the imposition of administrative penalties on operators for non-compliance with or contravention of the regulations, and providing for the collection of those penalties,
(ii) prescribing the conditions under which, and the time within which, the penalties are payable under subparagraph (i),
(iii) prescribing the amount of the penalties or methods by which they must be calculated, and
(iv) prescribing that the penalties collected be applied to a fund established under paragraph (h);
(h) establishing one or more funds to be used to develop and provide educational, research and promotional material or to provide training respecting food safety, providing for the payment of penalties under paragraph (g) to be directed and remitted to an established fund and prescribing the manner in which the penalties are to be paid into and out of an established fund;
(i) authorizing the minister to
(i) appoint a person or persons to manage and administer a fund established under paragraph (h) and to make payments from it in accordance with the regulations, and
(ii) establish terms of reference, duties and responsibilities for the person or persons appointed;
(j) establishing a licensing scheme for one or more types or classes of food establishments, including, without limitation,
(i) establishing qualifications to be met for obtaining a licence,
(ii) requiring and prescribing a fee payable for a licence and for a licence application,
(iii) providing for the issue, renewal, suspension, cancellation or reinstatement of a licence,
(iv) establishing terms, restrictions and conditions that may be included or imposed in respect of a licence, including inspection, supervision or other requirements to meet and comply with codes, standards, rules and guidelines,
(v) establishing the circumstances under which a licence may be suspended, cancelled and reinstated,
(vi) establishing procedures for conducting a suspension, cancellation or reinstatement proceeding, and
(vii) providing for other matters necessary to establish the licensing scheme;
(k) establishing or authorizing one or more bodies or organizations, on specified terms and conditions, to administer a licensing scheme under paragraph (j) and to enforce licensee compliance with this Act and the regulations, and prescribing the fees that the body or organization may charge for a licence or licence application;
(l) establishing qualifications and standards to be met by food establishment staff, prescribing their duties and functions and providing for examinations as to the competency of food establishment staff, the nature and extent of those examinations and standards required to pass them;
(m) providing for the issue of licences to food establishment staff, the classifying or categorizing of licences in accordance with the qualifications of the applicants, the terms of the licences and the fees to be paid for the licences, and providing for their renewal, suspension, cancellation or reinstatement;
(n) prescribing the fees payable under section 9 (2) for one or more of the actions that an inspector may take under that section;
(o) specifying the manner in which a fee specified under paragraph (n) must be paid to the government;
(p) authorizing a body or organization to operate an inspection service, specifying the manner in which a fee under paragraph (o) must be paid to the body or organization and authorizing that body or organization to retain all or a portion of the fee collected;
(q) respecting records that a person must maintain or produce for an inspection under section 9 and reports that a person must deliver to an inspector under a regulation under paragraph (c) of this subsection, including, without limitation, prescribing the form and content of the records and reports and the manner in which they must be maintained, produced or delivered;
(r) respecting the inspection of animals and carcasses to be used for food, including, without limitation, providing for
(i) the volume of business required before inspection will be granted,
(ii) the inspection hours,
(iii) the fees for inspections and related matters, and
(iv) the withdrawal of inspection services;
(s) providing for and setting standards and criteria for the detention, condemnation, quarantine, decontamination, denaturing, disposal and destruction of food that is contaminated or otherwise unfit for human consumption or of an ill, diseased or contaminated animal, carcass, plant, crop or other thing;
(t) providing for sampling, testing and analysis of any or all lots, deliveries or shipments of food and any other sampling, testing and analysis that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary in the public interest, providing for the manner and conditions of sampling, testing or analysis and designating laboratories to perform testing and analysis;
(u) prescribing fees and charges payable to the government in respect of the following:
(i) analyses, tests and investigations conducted under this Act;
(ii) filing of applications, records or reports with the minister;
(iii) provision of material or training referred to in paragraph (f) (i);
(iv) licences and licence applications;
(v) creating an offence for the contravention of a regulation and prescribing a penalty for that offence, up to the maximum penalties set out in section 16 (1) and (2);
(i) the delegation of the powers, duties and functions of the minister, and
(ii) the use, or standards for the use, of a certificate, stamp, mark, tag, label or form prescribed or specified by the minister under section 22, and making it an offence to misuse, imitate, deface or alter any of those things;
(x) prescribing one or more classes of food establishments, or parts of them, for purposes of section 19;
(y) exempting a class or type of person, food or food establishment from the application of all or part of this Act or a regulation, authorizing the minister to make such exemptions and prescribing conditions in relation to the exercise of that authority;
(z) defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act.
(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to more effectively bring this Act into operation, including regulations
(a) for the purpose of preventing, minimizing or otherwise addressing any transitional difficulties encountered in bringing into operation the provisions of this Act,
(b) to more effectively bring a regulation under this section into operation and facilitate any transition from the operation of the Fish Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act or the Milk Industry Act to the operation of this Act and a regulation under this section,
(c) deeming licences, certificates or permits issued under the Fish Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act and the Milk Industry Act before the repeal of those Acts to be licences issued under this Act, and
(d) providing an exception to or a modification of a provision in this Act or a regulation under this Act.
(4) In making regulations under this section, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may do one or more of the following:
(a) make different regulations for different classes or types of persons, food or food establishments, and establish a classification system for this purpose;
(b) make different regulations for different geographical areas in British Columbia;
(c) delegate a matter to a person;
(d) confer a discretion on a person.
(5) A regulation under this section may incorporate or adopt by reference, and with any changes the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers appropriate, all or part of a code, rule or standard, as amended before or after the making of the regulation and relating to the subject matter of this Act, whether the code, rule or standard is promulgated by any governmental authority or by any association or other body of persons.
(6) If all or part of a code, rule or standard is adopted by regulation, publication in the Gazette of a notice of the adoption referring to the code, standard or rule and stating the extent of its adoption and setting out any variations to which the adoption is subject, is deemed sufficient publication without publishing in the Gazette the text of the code, rule, standard or part of any of them adopted.
(7) A regulation made under subsection (3) is repealed one year after the date that the regulation takes effect.
[Note: See Table of Legislative Changes for the status of sections 25 to 31.]
|25–26||Animal Disease Control Act|
|28||Local Government Act|
|29||Meat Inspection Act|
|30||Milk Industry Amendment Act, 1997|
|31||Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 1998|
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