1. Home  
  2. Health  
  3. Nutrition  
  4. Food Safety  
  5. Buying food  
  6. Self-service and bulk purchases

Self-service and bulk purchases

Many food products are sold with no packaging in a self-service environment. These foods can be sold in bulk, on shelves or in bins, at buffets, at salad bars, at bakery counters or at olive, frozen seafood, cut vegetable or sushi bars.

You can serve these foods yourself and eat them right away, whether on site or somewhere else.

To ensure the safety of unpackaged foods and maintain the quality of the products for sale, they must be set out in a way that prevents contamination. Containers must be closed and appropriate utensils must be provided.

Risks associated with self-service

Handling self-service foods (for example, serving food from a hot buffet) can lead to contamination risks. For instance, allergens can sometimes be transferred over to a product that did not contain any initially.

Direct or cross-contamination of food can also be caused by harmful microorganisms. Contamination can also be linked to external factors, such as consumers’ health or the environment.

Tips for preventing contamination

It is important to maintain good hygiene by:

  • Using clean dishes and utensils when serving food
  • Accompanying children to the buffet
  • Washing your hands

Last update: March 26, 2024


Was the information on this page useful to you?
General notice

You have questions or require additional information?

Please contact Services Québec