Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses

What is the Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses?

A laboratory technician preparing media for the cultivation of bacteria on agar plates.

The Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses is one of the Public Health Laboratories at the Public Health Agency of Canada. It focuses on preventing infectious and chronic diseases by looking at public health risks that come from the interactions between animals, humans and the environment – also known as the 'One Health' approach. The lab works with provincial, federal and international public health partners to address priority public health risks in an integrated and proactive manner.

What is the Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses' focus?

The lab conducts research, reference services, surveillance and population risk analysis. Using these tools, the lab creates strategies to help reduce the risks of infectious and chronic diseases within the Canadian population. The lab focuses on foodborne illness, food and nutrition, antimicrobial resistance and the environment.

Our work on foodborne illness issues contributes to:

  • less exposure of Canadians to dangerous foodborne infections resulting from the consumption of food contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter and Escherichia coli (also known as E.coli).
  • faster identification and response to foodborne disease related issues and response to outbreaks.
  • better mitigation of foodborne disease risk factors along the food chain.

Our work on antimicrobial resistance issues contributes to:

A laboratory technician analysing bacteria from food, animals, and the environment for antimicrobial resistance.
  • less exposure of Canadians to antimicrobial resistance. (Antimicrobial resistance occurs when organisms like bacteria and viruses change in such a way that the medications used to cure the infections they cause become less effective.)
  • better identification and mitigation of the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance in human pathogens (infectious agents, such as bacteria or viruses, that cause diseases) caused by antimicrobial use in animals.

Our work on food and nutrition issues contributes to:

  • scientific information that can help link people's genetic make-up to risk of disease development.
  • identification of nutritional strategies to help mitigate people's increased risk of developing diseases.
  • increased awareness of the contribution of nutrition to wellness.

Our work on environment issues contributes to:

  • rapid identification and mitigation of public health risk factors in the environment that can cause illness in Canadians and around the world.
  • scientific information that can help to reduce human illness from public health risk factors in the environment.

An expert analysing recreational lake water samples for bacterial contamination.

Where is the Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses located?

The lab is located in multiple sites across Canada in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta with the main laboratory in Guelph, Ontario. Each location is closely linked to the provincial and federal clusters of expertise that exist in these regional sites, and these collaborations facilitate integrated approaches to address public health risks.

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