Regular maintenance of sanitary facilities is a critical part of operating a food premise. This is particularly important for food handlers and customers as human hands are one of the most common ways that most disease-causing microorganisms (called “pathogens”) spread from person to person, most often via the fecal-oral route.
When these pathogens spread through the fecal-oral route, it means that contaminated feces from an infected person are somehow ingested by another person. This could occur in various ways including when an infected person might forget to properly wash his or her hands after using the toilet. Anything he or she touches afterward might become contaminated with pathogens that other people may pick up through touching the contaminated surfaces such as a door knob or light switch in the washroom. These pathogens may end up in food due to lack of or improper handwashing and potentially cause a foodborne illness. Incidents resulting from poor washroom maintenance such as a sewage back-up also increase the risk of exposure to these pathogens.
It is important to keep the washroom clean, in good repair and fully-equipped with supplies required for proper handwashing to occur in order to cut the route of transmission. The following are some tips and suggestions for washroom maintenance:
As required under section 25 of the Ontario Food Premises Regulation 493/17, operators must also ensure that sanitary facilities are maintained in accordance with the design, construction and installation requirements in Ontario Regulation 332/12 (Building Code) made under the Building Code Act, 1992. These requirements are primarily enforced by the municipal Building Department.
If you have a plan to alter any floor space, number of toilets or washbasins in a sanitary facility, a public health inspector at the Porcupine Health Unit must be notified and an approval in writing must be obtained prior to making such changes.