Language selection


Lighting in an establishment


What is lighting?

Lighting applies to the type and source of lighting used to illuminate an area. It can serve a general purpose or be task specific and come from an artificial source like a hanging light fixture or natural source like daylight from a window.

Lighting is an important feature in the overall design and construction of establishments. Adequate and appropriate lighting provides visual accuracy for the:

The form of lighting and its intensity can present a risk of contamination to a food. For example:


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) created this document as guidance to help food businesses comply with the requirements set out in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

It's your choice

You may use other guidance developed by provincial governments, industry associations, international partners or academic bodies as long as they can achieve the outcomes identified in the regulations. Always ensure that the guidance you choose is relevant for your particular business, product or products, and market requirements.

What is included

This document outlines:

Refer to the Tell me more! section for additional sources of information that may help you ensure that the lighting to conduct your activities.

What is not included

While this document provides generic information about lighting, it is not exhaustive – Lighting needs and preventive measures will depend on the size and complexity of the food business and be unique for each business.

Roles and responsibilities

Food businesses are responsible for complying with the law. They demonstrate compliance by ensuring that the commodities and processes for which they are responsible meet regulatory requirements. If a written preventive control plan (PCP) is required, the food business develops a PCP with supporting documents, monitors and maintains evidence of its implementation, and verifies that all control measures are effective.

The CFIA verifies the compliance of a food business by conducting activities that include inspection, and surveillance. When non-compliance is identified, the CFIA takes appropriate compliance and enforcement actions.


The intensity, colour and direction of lighting used to illuminate each area should:

Lighting intensities and colour

The amount of light that is considered adequate depends on the tasks you are performing in that area.

For example, the following light intensity levels are commonly acceptable for most foods:Footnote 1

It is important that lighting does not alter the colour of a food in areas where colour-sensitive tasks are being performed. For example, light sources with high emission in the blue spectrum may cause a pork loin chop to appear less red, and light sources with high emission in the red spectrum may cause the same meat to appear redder.

Light sources are characterized by their colour rendering properties.

CRI is measured between 0 and 100; a CRI of 100 indicates the colours will appear with high fidelity (true).

Light intensity levels for certain activities

In addition to the lighting intensity levels recommended above, there are light intensity levels recognized as achieving compliance for the following activities:

Sources of light

Any source of light, including natural sunlight, is acceptable if the following conditions are met.

Safety of light source

In addition to providing appropriate lighting, the source of light cannot present a risk of contamination to the food.

For example

There are different types of fixtures used in the food production facility, such as

Whatever types of fixtures are used, they should

Most importantly, they should not

Quick tips

  • Light-coloured ceilings and walls allow cleanliness to be more easily evaluated and they increase the overall lighting levels in the facility
  • Lighting systems deteriorate without regular maintenance. The output of the lamp decreases as the length of time it has been in operation increases. Different lamp types deteriorate at different rates

Tell me more! Further reading

The following references contain information that helps explain food safety controls, demonstrates how to develop them, and provides examples. The CFIA is not responsible for the content of documents that are created by other government agencies or international sources.

CFIA references

Other references

Date modified: