Foodborne illnesses remain high despite government funding for food safety
Data from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency between 2008 and 2015 shows that despite continued federal investment in food inspection safety practices, the number of Canadians getting sick because of foodborne related illnesses, still remain high. According to the Government of Canada website 1 in 8 people (4 million Canadians) get sick each year from contaminated food.
In fact, the number of reported illnesses associated with food recalls have remained steady. Illnesses associated with marine product recalls in particular have been on an incline since 2013.
This despite the federal government nearly doubling the number of inspectors and field inspectors since 1997.
The response to hire more inspectors after 2008 was prompted by the Listeriosis outbreak that resulted in the deaths of 23 people in Canada.
Salmonella, Listeriosis, and E. Coli 0157 are the most common culprits of food-related illnesses in Canada.
Listeria: The leading cause of deaths related to food-borne illness each year.
Salmonella: Contributes to 1 in 4 hospitalizations of all food-borne illnesses.
E. Coli O157: One of the top food-borne bacteria causing severe illness.
Not all of the recalls are domestic, in fact just under 50 per cent of the recalls between 2008 to 2015 were imported food products.
The top five countries making up the highest percentage of the recalls include the United States, China, India, Taiwan and Korea. The highest amount of recalls from the United States were confectionary, sweeteners, snack foods and non-bakery desserts.
Consumer complaints were the leading triggers of recalls.
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