Food Safety

Each year Canadians become ill from the foods they eat. The Public Health Agency of Canada, together with Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, work in close cooperation with health authorities to protect the public from these outbreaks.

Understanding who does what on food matters

Government of Canada's role

The Public Health Agency of Canada conducts outbreak surveillance and epidemiology and provides advice to protect people’s health.

Health Canada develops food safety standards and policies to help minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency carries out inspection of the food industry to ensure that it meets its food safety responsibilities.

Collaborative roles

The Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada work with public health officials, and provincial ministries of health to confirm the source of the food-related illnesses when an outbreak is suspected. When cases occur in multiple provinces, federal officials lead the epidemiological investigation. In addition, they provide reference laboratory services, conduct food safety investigations and recall actions.

Health Canada also briefs the medical community, public health officials, the food industry and the public on matters related to the food illnesses where appropriate. As a founding member of the Canadian Partners for Consumer Food Safety Education, Health Canada also participates in public awareness campaigns about safe food practices.

During an outbreak

The federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) government departments and agencies responsible for public health and food safety have updated the Foodborne Illness Outbreak Response Protocol (FIORP) 2010. FIORP 2010 will allow public health and food safety authorities across Canada to respond faster, more efficiently and more effectively to national and international outbreaks.

FIORP 2010 is the technical and operational protocol that guides how FPT public health and food safety authorities manage national or international food-borne illness outbreaks. A national outbreak is one that spans more than one province or territory. An international outbreak is one that spans more than one country, including Canada.

Following the national listeriosis outbreak of 2008, the FPT governments reviewed the protocol to build on lessons learned and further improve how outbreaks are responded to and managed in Canada.

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