Nutritious, wholesome and safe food is essential to healthy living. In 2000, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights declared that safe and nutritious food is one of the underlying factors of health – one of our "rights to health."
At the BC Centre for Disease Control our roles in keeping food nutritious and wholesome include:
- Inspection and licencing of provincial dairies
- Providing food guidelines, food safety training, travel advice, and food safety information for fish, dairy, meat and fruits and vegetables.
- Providing laboratory testing services to Public Health Inspectors in the Health Authorities to check on the sanitary quality of food.
- Providing information to the public, industry and partnering with other agencies, for example, FOODSAFE, CPCFSE (FightBac!), and Healthy Eating BC.
What happens when food isn’t safe?
Each year over 550,000 cases of domestically acquired foodborne illness occur in BC (based on estimates from 2000 to 2010). This is equivalent to 13% of the BC population getting sick with food poisoning every year (or 1 in 8 individuals). Five pathogens cause 90% of all illnesses: norovirus, Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Salmonella. For more info on BC estimates of foodborne disease, contact us.
Food poisoning associated costs are estimated at $100 million per year, and foodborne illness and gastroenteritis result in 19.7 million annual sick days in Canada.
We provide many services to investigate and monitor foodborne illness in BC. These include
- Investigation of foodborne illness by epidemiologists and food safety specialists.
- Laboratory testing of food and clinical samples by technologist specialists
- Tracking and disease surveillance at a population level
The information on these pages represent the work we do on behalf of the public, industry and government. Some of this information was written for the general public and some was written in technical language for public health.
Food Protection Services phone 604-707-2440
NCC Environmental Health phone 604-829-2551
Poison Control Centre phone 604-682-5050 or 1-800-567-8911
Laboratory phone 1-877-PHSALAB (1-877-747-2522)
Environmental Health Services Newsletters:
EHS Newsletter Vol 1 Iss 1 Oct 2012