Kitchen Safety and Hygiene

Food safety is a critical part of any community kitchen.

Practicing Food Safety:

Community kitchen facilitators must ensure participants diligently carry out safe practices at all times.

  • Speak about food safety at the beginning and throughout your time together in the kitchen since people’s level of understanding of food safety varies. (Be careful not to assume that everyone holds similar knowledge.)
  • Incorporate safe food-handling practices in various ways–verbally, through kitchen signage and by providing simple handouts.
  • Read and discuss basic food-safety guidelines before your group begins to cook together. Remember to share these guidelines with new members.
  • Get detailed information about dishwashing.

Resources on Food Safety:

  • Caring for Food Safety Interactive Video: Actively participate in this online-learning resource from the BC Ministry of Health. Available in English, Chinese and Punjabi.
  • Be Food Safe Canada: Obtain brochures, food safety facts and a video from the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education.


  • It is recommended that at least two people in your community kitchen group take the BC Certified course “FOODSAFE Level One”. This way, if one of the certified people cannot attend the community kitchen, there is still another certified FOODSAFE person in the group.
  • We offer FOODSAFE Level One workshops, twice a year in Vancouver on a sliding scale.
  • The FOODSAFE website provides course details and locations, information on certified instructors, and information on course materials in other languages.

For Further Assistance with Food Safety

Contact your Health Authority’s Environmental Health Department (BC Residents)
Food Safety is handled by the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) who works for the Environmental Health Department of your Health Authority. If you have any questions or concerns about your food safety, contact your EHO:

Contact Dietitian Services at Health Link BC Also available by calling 8-1-1.

Fire Safety

  • Ensure that your kitchen has a fire extinguisher that is checked annually by the fire department or a fire inspection company.
  • Be sure that you know how to use the fire extinguisher!
  • Ensure that you and all of the participants are aware of the building’s fire procedure.
  • Contact your local fire department to see if they offer fire extinguisher courses in your area.  Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services offers a Fire Safety and Extinguisher Use Training Course for groups, organizations, and individuals.

First Aid

  • Ensure you have a first-aid kit in your kitchen.
  • Make sure someone in your group is certified in Basic First Aid.
  • Purchase a first-aid kit or make your own. See our list of basic First Aid Kit.
  • Visit the St. John Ambulance website to find a variety of first-aid courses or to purchase first-aid kits.
  • Check to see if your local community centre offers First-Aid courses.