Temporary food markets and festivals gain popularity as the warmer months draw near, drawing both vendors and food enthusiasts. For small businesses and entrepreneurs, these events are a great way to present their culinary creations, but to safeguard the public’s health, food safety must come first.

In British Columbia, vendors may be advised to test their food products for pH and water activity in accordance with the BC Centre for Disease Control’s Guidelines for the Sale of Foods at Temporary Food Markets.   In Alberta, pH and water activity can help you identify what food preparation requirements to follow: Information for Farmers’ Market Managers and Stallholders (alberta.ca).  In both cases, CARO can help you to get your product tested, and understand what it all means. You can purchase our pH and water activity test kit here: Food Risk Assessment – CARO Analytical Services – STORE.

Water Activity Testing: An Essential Food Safety Metric

The amount of free water in a food product that is available for chemical reactions and microbial growth is measured by water activity. It is imperative to keep the water activity level low to inhibit the growth of molds, yeasts, and dangerous bacteria that can lead to foodborne illnesses.

Products are regarded as safe from mold growth if their water activity level is less than 0.65 and safe from pathogenic bacterial growth if it is less than 0.85.   Vendors can verify that their products meet the necessary safety thresholds by conducting tests for water activity via CARO’s laboratories in British Columbia or Alberta.

pH Testing: Tracking Levels of Acidity

An indicator of a food product’s acidity or alkalinity is its pH level. To ensure the product’s shelf life and quality, it is imperative to maintain the proper pH level to inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms.

While most yeasts and molds prefer slightly acidic conditions, many pathogenic bacteria prefer neutral or slightly alkaline environments. Vendors can verify that their products are within the safe range and respond appropriately by testing the pH levels of their products.

Compliance of regional health authorities


Although the BC Centre for Disease Control and Alberta Health Services offer general recommendations for food product safety testing, it is crucial for vendors to confirm any additional requirements or local health authority-specific regulations. Certain regulations pertaining to food safety, labeling, and permits for pop-up food markets may be enforced by local health authorities.

We at CARO Analytical Services recognize the value of food safety and provide accurate pH and water activity testing services via our web store. Modern tools and tried-and-true techniques are used by our skilled scientific team to guarantee precise and reliable results.

Visit our online store or contact us for more details about our pH and water activity testing services. Together, let us make sure that everyone has a fun and safe market season!