Vancouver - The BC Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health are reminding operators and employees in BC’s 12,000 food service establishments to check their FOODSAFE certification to ensure they meet the requirements under BC’s Public Health Act.
FOODSAFE is a provincial food safety training program for establishments including restaurants and bars, hospitals, long-term care facilities, child-care centres, schools and grocery stores. Every operator of a food service establishment, and at least one staff member on every shift, must have a valid FOODSAFE Level 1 certificate or its equivalent.
The FOODSAFE certificate has a five-year shelf life. All certificates issued prior to July 29, 2013, will expire on that date in 2018. With the deadline fast approaching, people with an expiring certificate should recertify online, in person or by correspondence.
For more information on recertification, course options and pricing, visit the website.
“The program is designed to enhance the knowledge of people working in the food services industry on topics such as foodborne illness, safe cooking and cooling temperatures, sanitation and food allergens,” said Sion Shyng, a food safety specialist at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC.) “Improved food handling skills results in safer food for people eating out in BC.”
- FOODSAFE is a comprehensive “made in BC” food safety training program for the food service industry that was developed jointly by government, industry and academia.
- BC's FOODSAFE program was developed in 1986 as a voluntary course. Each year, more than 43,000 British Columbians become FOODSAFE certified. An additional 14,000 people in other Canadian provinces are trained annually using BC’s FOODSAFE program.
- Food service operators and specific workers have been required to complete FOODSAFE certification under the Ministry of Health’s Public Health Act since July 1, 2000.
- In June 2013, the BCCDC and the provincial government announced all FOODSAFE Level 1 certificates issued in B.C. as of July 29, 2013, would have a five-year expiry date. All certificates issued before that date would expire on July 29, 2018.
- More than 550,000 cases of domestically acquired foodborne illness occur annually in BC (one in eight British Columbians.) Most feel ill with gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea for a few days and then get better.
- Some foodborne illnesses can be life-threatening, especially for vulnerable people including children, pregnant women, the elderly and those that are immune compromised.
- Five pathogens cause 90 per cent of all illnesses: norovirus, Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, Yersinia enterocolitica and Salmonella.
The BC Centre for Disease Control, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides public health leadership through surveillance, detection, treatment, prevention and consultation services. The Centre provides diagnostic and treatment services for people with diseases of public health importance, and analytical and policy support to all levels of government and health authorities. The BCCDC also provides health promotion and prevention services to reduce the burden of chronic disease and preventable injury. For more, visit www.bccdc.ca or follow us on Twitter @CDCofBC.
The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) plans, manages and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit www.phsa.ca or follow us on Twitter @PHSAofBC.
The Ministry of Health has overall responsibility for ensuring that quality, appropriate, cost effective and timely health services are available for all British Columbians. The Ministry’s public health roles include regulating food safety in BC food establishments under BC’s Public Health Act- Food Premises Regulation, and regulating drinking water safety through the Drinking Water Protection Act.
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