Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
December 19, 2002
U of G's Food Safety Network launches hotline
Canada's first food safety hotline was launched today by the Food Safety Network at the University of Guelph. 1-866-50-FSNET (1-866-503-7638) is the new bilingual toll-free line for Canadians to call and obtain food safety information.
The call centre is the latest feature of the Food Safety Network, which U of G launched in March 2002 to provide international research, commentary, policy evaluation and public information on food safety and safe food handling. The network searches out credible, evidence-based information on food safety and makes it easily accessible to Canadians and the international community.
"Food safety is complicated, constant and requires commitment," said plant agriculture professor Doug Powell, who serves as leader of the Food Safety Network. "The call centre is one additional way we're trying to engage not just consumers, but everyone in the farm-to-fork food safety system."
Information centre staff will use an electronic database to record questions they answer. Data collected from the calls will help identify food safety issues and trends across the country. Sources of food safety information include federal and provincial regulatory agencies and international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, as well as peer-reviewed scientific publications, academia and recognized experts.
Sarah Wilson, manager of the information centre, noted that enquires can also be submitted electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org. A backgrounder explaining procedures that all Food Safety Network staff follow when providing evidence-based food safety information can be found at www.eatwelleatsafe.ca/infoproc.htm.
Frequently asked call centre questions will be posted on the network's Web site, www.foodsafetynetwork.ca, which also provides the public with daily news pages and listservs on evolving food safety issues.
The network is funded by a mix of public, private and foundation sources. It works closely with the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety, also housed at Guelph, as well as other national and international collaborators.
For more information, visit the Food Safety Network Web site: www.foodsafetynetwork.ca.
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 6982.