The consumer's role in Canada's food system

Everyone has a part to play in Canada's food system

As a parent, the last thing you want to think is that food you serve your children could cause them harm. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) works with several government departments and agencies to help keep Canada's food supply safe. As a consumer, you can also help contribute to the country's food safety.

If you have a food safety concern or complaint:

  • Contact CFIA by phone (1-800-442-2342), online or in person at a local CFIA office.
  • If you suspect you are ill due to something you ate or drank, see a doctor immediately. If possible, try to keep a sample of the food you think might have made you ill — it could prove to be useful if an investigation is necessary – and contact the CFIA.
  • Provide as many details as you can about the food in question including the brand name, Universal Product Code (UPC), lot code, best before date and date and place of purchase.

How CFIA investigates complaints

Each year, the CFIA conducts about 3,000 investigations — many prompted by consumer concerns — and manages approximately 350 food recalls.

Following an investigation, a risk assessment may also be conducted. If the food is found to be a health risk to the general population, the CFIA asks the manufacturer, importer, distributor or retailer to remove (recall) any affected product from the market, and alerts the public through a food recall or allergy alert news release. You can sign up to receive food recall and allergy alert notices on Healthy Canadians website.

While not everything reported to the CFIA results in a food safety investigation, allergy alert or food recall, by contacting the CFIA with any of your food safety questions or concerns, you're helping ensure that Canada's food supply is kept safe for everybody.

Did you know?

Download CFIA's food recall fact sheet
For more information about CFIA investigation and recall processes, read our food recall fact sheet.

Who should I contact?

Depending on the nature of your food safety concern, you may want to reach one of CFIA's many partners across the country. Here are some guidelines to help you decide who's best to contact.

Contact CFIA if you have an issue related to:

  • Misrepresentation of food (for example, imitation crab meat labelled or served as “real crab”)
  • Putrid pre-packaged food (such as food containing maggots or bugs)
  • Insufficient or incorrect labelling on pre-packaged food, including nutritional labels, nutrition facts tables, country of origin, etc.

Contact your provincial public health authority if your complaint involves:

  • Food poisoning from a restaurant (if it turns out that the food itself — and not onsite preparation or cleanliness — caused the illness, CFIA will investigate)
  • Unclean restaurant/grocery store environments

Contact Health Canada for:

  • Complaints about natural health products (such as vitamins and herbal remedies).

Did you know?

The CFIA Food Recall Report List
Search for and browse information about the most recent food recalls in Canada by visiting the CFIA Food Recall Report List.

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