The Prince Edward Island government is updating its food safety regulations and licensing fees.

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, said the updates will happen in the coming months.

“Prince Edward Island will be updating regulations to ensure the highest levels of food safety in food serving establishments,” said Morrison in a statement. “They will also make sure that the Chief Public Health Office has the ability to enforce safe food handling requirements.”

The last major review of food safety regulations in the province was more than 30 years ago.

The draft regulations put more responsibility on restaurant owners to report problems.

For example, a licence holder can't allow anyone who has a communicable disease to handle or serve food or be around any equipment used for food preparation.

They also have to notify the public health office as soon as they know an employee has that sort of illness.

Government officials say the new regulations will help ensure compliance, by placing conditions on licences, and imposing suspensions and fines.  

The changes to the Eating Establishments and Licensed Premises Regulations are expected to include more training, written cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and food safety management plans.

Licensing fees will go up from the current range of between $25 and $100 to between $37.50 and $150. Most of the fee changes will be phased in this fall to allow for consultation.

In addition, national guidelines for water testing will be adopted for operators with private wells.

The government says the deadline for public comment on the draft regulations is April 15.