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."
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
enterocolitica, and Salmonella. For more info on
BC estimates of foodborne disease, contact
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
We provide many services to investigate and monitor foodborne illness in BC. These include:
- Investigation of foodborne illness by epidemiologists and food safety
- Laboratory testing of food and clinical samples by technologist specialists
- Tracking and disease surveillance at a population level
This pillar also includes the program.
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.