spring rolls

The province said it ordered Tam Nguyen to stop selling his home-made spring rolls because he is not a licenced food handler using proper facilities. (CBC)

Manitoba Health is pulling the plug on a Winnipeg man who makes spring rolls for charity.

Tam Nguyen, a popular West End tailor, said he sells his home-made spring rolls to raise money for children in Vietnam, and he's been doing it for 17 years.

But earlier this year, a health inspector ordered the operation shut down.

Nguyen said he was given no alternative. 

"'You can't sell spring rolls here,'" Nguyen said he was told. "'You don't have a permit. If you want to sell spring rolls here, you have to get the right kitchen, a commercial kitchen, all the papers, stuff like that.'"

Nguyen said he doesn't understand why Manitoba Health is coming after him now after all this time. 

He said he won't bother making the changes because it would take too much time and money to find a commercial kitchen.

"I feel bad," he said. "If I tried to get the kitchen better, ... too much work and too much time."

Province orders stop but also offers to help

Manitoba Health's director of environmental health, Peter Parys, said the rules require someone with a food handlers certificate to oversee the production of food for sale.

He added the food must be prepared in a licensed kitchen and many approved facilities are available in churches or community halls. They usually charge a small fee but ensure the food is properly refrigerated and offer 'hot holding' or cooking facilities.

"We don't want to discourage these types of things," Parys said. "We live in the community as well. We see the value in helping and encouraging these kind of events. But we just want to make sure it's done safely."

Parys said the province offered to waive the food handling course fee of $93.00 for Nguyen. 

He said officials were acting on a complaint but would not say if anyone got sick from the spring rolls.