Food Safety Legislation

B.C. has a range of legislation regulating food safety on-farm and at food processing, food service and food retail levels.

Food Safety Act

The Food Safety Act regulates B.C.'s food industry, from agriculture and processing to retail and restaurants.

The Ministry of Health administers the Food Safety Act, except as it relates to food establishments where animals are slaughtered for food purposes (i.e., abattoirs). The Ministry of Agriculture administers the Food Safety Act's Meat Inspection Regulation, which applies only to food establishments where animals are slaughtered for food purposes. This regulation establishes several classes of provincial slaughter licences. 

Public Health Act

The Ministry of Health's Public Health Act governs the entire spectrum of public health in British Columbia. With respect to food safety, health officers can use the Public Health Act to complement their powers under the Food Safety Act.

The Public Health Act’s Food Premises Regulation, outlines food safety requirements for businesses processing or preparing food, and selling food to the public. The health authorities are responsible for approving, permitting, inspecting and responding to complaints about food premises under this regulation.

Milk Industry Act

The Milk Industry Act and the Milk Industry Standards Regulation regulate the safety of milk and other dairy products. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) licenses and inspects all dairy plants in B.C. under this legislation.

Fish and Seafood Act

The Fish and Seafood Act and Fish and Seafood Licensing Regulation govern fish and shellfish harvested, processed and sold in British Columbia. The Ministry of Agriculture issues licences for commercial fisheries, finfish and shellfish aquaculture, and fish processing plants. Exports from B.C. fall under federal legislation.

Federal Legislation

For a list of federal food and food safety legislation, see: CFIA - List of Acts and Regulations.