Government of Canada

Government of Canada

November 15, 2013 12:35 ET

Harper Government Announces Enhancements to Maintain Healthy and Safe Food for Canadians

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Nov. 15, 2013) - Today, from a local Co-Op grocery store, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, announced the Healthy and Safe Food for Canadians Framework and expansion of FoodNet Canada.

"Knowing that food is healthy and safe to eat is fundamentally important to all Canadians and their families, when they buy, prepare, and eat food," said Minister Ambrose. "That is why we are announcing an expansion of the food safety surveillance system and releasing the Healthy and Safe Food for Canadians Framework."

The Framework describes how the Government is working to inform consumers about healthy and safe food choices, to minimize food safety risks, and to protect Canadians when unsafe foods enter the marketplace.

"Healthy, safe and accessible food is vitally important to Canadians," said Pat Vanderkooy, Registered Dietitian with Dietitians of Canada. "Protecting the health of Canadians requires the Government's commitment to regulating what's allowed in our food, how it's labelled, as well as monitoring and reporting on the safety of the food supply."

Under this new Framework, Minister Ambrose along with the Honourable Dave Rodney, Assistant Minister of Wellness for Alberta, announced the expansion of FoodNet Canada to include a new surveillance site in Calgary and Central Alberta.

"Alberta is very pleased to host this new site in Canada that will improve our food safety surveillance systems and help prevent illnesses, improving the overall wellness of Canadians," said Minister Rodney.

FoodNet Canada is made up of three surveillance sites located across the country. In addition to the new site in Alberta, there is one in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario and the Fraser Region in British Columbia. They each collect detailed information about food-borne illness, commonly known as food-poisoning, in Canadians and trace those illnesses back to their sources, such as food, water and animals.

This information identifies sources that are causing the most illness among Canadians and helps to track illnesses and their causes over time. This assists federal and provincial governments, industry and other food safety partners to take the right prevention measures to help keep Canadians' food safe and prevent illnesses.

For additional information on how the Government is providing information for Canadians on healthy and safe food or for a copy of the Framework, please visit the Healthy Canadians website.

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Fact Sheet

FoodNet Canada

FoodNet Canada (formerly known as C-EnterNet) is made up of three food safety surveillance sites located across the country. It is currently active in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario and Fraser Region, British Columbia. It is expanding to a third site in Calgary and Central Alberta, which is expected to be active in January 2014.
The addition of a third site will generate results that take into account a greater portion of the Canadian population. It will improve our food safety surveillance and assist us and our partners to help maintain healthy and safe food for Canadians.

Each of the surveillance sites collects detailed information about food-borne illness, commonly known as food-poisoning, in Canadians and traces those illnesses back to their sources, such as food, water and animals.

For example, samples may be taken from fresh packaged produce, ground beef and chicken breasts from grocery stores; manure from farms; water from fresh-water beaches and surface water that supplies municipal drinking water.

These samples are then tested for microorganisms and any that are found are compared to the microorganisms that cause disease in humans. This information tells us which sources are causing the most illness among Canadians and helps us track illnesses and their causes over time.

It also provides evidence to federal and provincial governments, industry and other food safety partners on the effectiveness of the food safety system. It gives them practical information to help improve their food safety efforts and to take targeted measures to prevent outbreaks and food-borne illness in Canadian families.

For example, FoodNet Canada recently identified E. coli O26 in ground beef as part of routine sampling. This information was shared with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which was able to issue a recall of the food product and help to prevent Canadians from becoming sick.

FoodNet Canada relies on collaboration with public health partners at all levels of government, industry and other stakeholders within each site.

For additional information, please view the FoodNet Canada page on the Agency's website.

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Michael Bolkenius
    Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200

    Alberta Ministry of Health
    Matthew Grant
    Press Secretary
    Matthew.s.grant@gov.ab.ca
    (780) 422-9003

    Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Media Relations
    613-773-6600

    Public Health Agency of Canada
    Media Relations
    613-957-2983

    Health Canada
    Media Relations
    613-957-2983

    Public Inquiries:
    (613) 957-2991
    1-866 225-0709