Message from the Minister of Health – World Food Safety Day - June 7, 2019


Today, the Government of Canada recognizes the first-ever World Food Safety Day, highlighting the importance of safe food handling practices, and the global benefits of having strong food safety control systems in place.

Canada is recognized as having one of the strongest food safety systems in the world. And this year, we’ve made our food system even safer with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), which focus on prevention and allow for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace. Food producers, processors and retailers, play a key role in our food safety system by making sure the food they produce or import is safe to eat.

Public awareness of food-related illnesses has increased over the years, thanks in part to the collaborative efforts of federal partners, as well as provincial, territorial and local agencies.

But even in a modern, effective food safety system such as Canada's, risks cannot be completely eliminated. Bacteria, viruses and parasites can contaminate food anywhere, from the farm to your table.

Every year, it is estimated that more than four million (1 in 8) Canadians get sick from food-related illnesses like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. More than 11,000 people are hospitalized in Canada from these illnesses annually, and unfortunately an estimated 238 people die as a result.

No one should ever die from a food-related illness. This is why establishing good food safety habits at an early age can contribute to a safe and healthy life, and protect all Canadians, including the young and the elderly—those most at risk for serious illnesses. 

Food safety practices are important for everyone, and we can all take simple steps to protect ourselves and our families. Follow safe food handling practices everyday and know the symptoms of food-related illnesses. Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and fever. Visit your doctor if you suspect you have a food-related illness.

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians by maintaining a strong food safety system and providing Canadians with the information they need to protect their health.

Today, I encourage you to learn more about protecting yourself and your family from food-related illness by visiting our Food Safety website.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.

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