Starting a food selling business by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Ontario’s food sellers give consumers the opportunity to enjoy their food purchases in a variety of locations. Food selling is commonly organized into two groups – food retail and foodservice. While food stores tend to sell pre-packaged food and foodservice outlets tend to be locations where food is served as a meal, these separations are blurring.

Restaurants now sell consumers their favourite sauces and dressings from beside the cash register and retail stores sell prepared meals from a “hot & fresh” counter.
Different rules apply to these different retail activities. So when you start a food selling business, it’s important to see which rules apply to you.

For food retailers: Ontario is home to over 12,000 food retailers. This includes:

  • convenience stores
  • farm markets
  • roadside stands
  • grocery stores
  • warehouse clubs
  • drugstores selling food items
  • websites.

For food service companies and Broader Public Service establishments: Ontario is home to over 30,000 foodservice outlets. This includes:

  • bakeries
  • caterers (including those who run outlets such as employee cafeterias)
  • cafés
  • foodservice
  • vending trucks and chip trucks
  • home delivery services
  • Broader Public Service (hospitals, schools, prisons).

Both types of outlets are governed by food safety rules contained in Ontario’s Food Premises Regulation 562 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Learn more, visit

These guides will help you deal with Ontario regulations, financing, taxation, managing your business, advertising and much more:


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