An official with the Elgin Street Mission in Sudbury says the organization is unable to accept some food donations — and that's halted the efforts of a local church group that used to prepare food for the charity group.

The director-chairman of the mission said unless meals are prepared in an inspected kitchen, the mission can't accept cooked, prepared food.

Renee Soulière said they just recently found out about this through the health unit.

“They came in and we had frozen sandwiches and they asked us, where do you get your sandwiches? Of course we told them we have a ladies church group that brings us these sandwiches,” he said.

“Are the kitchens that they work in inspected? I said, I don't know if they're inspected or not because it's never been an issue before."

Kitchen 'invasion'

Souilière said donations have gone down as a result of not being able to accept prepared food.

The health unit reports it routinely inspects food premises on a regular basis, including restaurants, daycares and institutional kitchens.

The kitchen at the mission is inspected on a regular basis. Soulière wondered if those who donate prepared food will be willing to submit to kitchen inspections by the health unit as well.

“We had one lady who used to prepare us pails of soup and bring it in. We had to tell her that we couldn't accept her soup unless her kitchen is inspected,” Soulière said.

“They can call the inspector and say, ‘come on in and look at my kitchen. And if they get an inspection approval, then they can do it. But how many people want that kind of invasion in their home?"