More than four million Canadians get some form of food poisoning annually. Most recover quickly with no lasting complications but sometimes the effects can be serious, even deadly. Food poisoning is caused by eating food that is contaminated with unsafe microbes, mostly bacteria, but can also be caused by viruses, moulds, parasites and chemicals. Although, Canada has one of the safest food supplies in the world, food recalls and food poisoning outbreaks are often in the news.
Here are 5 common bacteria that cause food poisoning:
1. Campylobacter jujuni can be found in uncooked poultry, unpasteurized milk and milk products and untreated water.
2. Clostridium botulinum can be found in improperly prepared low acid canned food and improperly prepared flavoured oils. Honey should not be fed to children under the age of one year because it can also contain these bacteria.
3. E. coli can be found in raw or undercooked meats (especially ground meats), raw vegetables and fruit, unpasteurized apple juice or cider, unpasteurized milk and milk products and untreated water.
4. Listeria can be found in raw or undercooked meats, raw vegetables, unpasteurized milk and milk products and processed meats.
5. Salmonella can be found in raw or uncooked meats, poultry, fish and eggs, unpasteurized milk and milk products, raw vegetables and fruit, peanut butter, sauces, salad dressings, eggnog and chocolate.
In Canada, there are three government offices responsible for ensuring food safety from farm to fork:
• Health Canada is responsible for developing food safety and nutrition standards and guidelines, evaluating food safety risks and promoting healthy eating.
• The Canadian Food Inspection Agency sets standards to detect and prevent risks to Canada’s food supply and verifies that industry is meeting federal food safety and regulatory requirements.
• The Public Health Agency of Canada conducts food-related illness surveillance and outbreak investigations and provides advice to Canadians on how to protect themselves during an outbreak.