There are about 11 million cases of foodborne illness every year in Canada, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Foodborne illness, also commonly referred to as food poisoning. Bacteria, viruses and parasites are microorganisms that can cause foodborne illness. Illness occurs when a person gets sick from eating food that has been contaminated with any of these microbes or their toxic by-products.
Groups at Risk
Although everyone is susceptible to foodborne illness, certain groups of the population are more vulnerable to illness. These groups are often referred to as the “high risk groups”. Individuals in high risk groups have a higher probability of developing more severe illness or complications as a result of the foodborne problem.
Those belonging to the high risk groups include:
- Young children
- Pregnant women
- Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with diabetes, HIV/AIDS or cancer
The high risk group includes those living in poverty, suffering from insufficient nutrition, housing or access to clean water. That's because their health and living conditions may have led to weakened immune systems.
Farm-to-Fork Food Safety
Mishandling of food at any step of the food distribution chain, from the farm through processing to preparation, can lead to foodborne illness.
The concept of “farm to fork” food safety indicates that many people are responsible for assuring a safe food supply:
- food service industries, and
Governments play a role all the way along the farm to fork continuum. They use risk analysis to establish guidelines and policies based on sound science to ensure consumer protection and to facilitate international trade.
Date modified: 2012-03-25