Government and Industry Collaborate to Promote Food Safety Awareness
May 14, 1998
OTTAWA, May 14, 1998 - Almost 70 per cent of Canadian consumers rank bacteria that may cause food poisoning or illness as their number one food safety concern. A new consumer survey by Environics also found that only three quarters of Canadians wash their hands and cooking surfaces before and during meal preparation at home. The survey asked consumers about their knowledge of safe food handling practices and to rate their own food handling practices in the home.
Microbial foodborne illness represents a significant health risk to Canadians, as many as a million cases each year, many of them avoidable. Health Canada has estimated the annual cost of these illnesses including medical and hospital expenses, lost income, time off work and loss of business to the food processor, retailer or server at more than $1 billion.
Canada’s food inspection system enjoys a world reputation for effectiveness as the food industry and government work together to deliver safe food to consumers. To enhance this level of food safety and reduce the risk of foodborne illness, consumers need to learn more about what they can do to improve their safe food handling practices. It has long been recognized that proper safe food handling practices in the home can prevent a major portion of these illnesses.
With this in mind, major players in the Canadian food industry have joined in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to increase awareness among consumers about how they can reduce foodborne illness in the home.
The partnership is preparing for a major safe food handling awareness campaign in Canada that kicks off in the fall of 1998. It will emphasize four key messages --
CLEAN: wash hands and surfaces often;
SEPARATE: don’t cross-contaminate;
COOK: cook to proper temperatures; and
CHILL: refrigerate promptly.