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Food Safety


Food and Your Health: boy choosing btween hamburger and appleNutritious, 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."

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. In BC, 60% of all outbreaks are solved - outbreak investigation infographic. 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

Healthy and safe eating

Healthy Eating BC one of 4 pillars to theinitiative.

This pillar also includes the  program.

Use your thermometer!

Pregnancy and Food Safety

Did you know?

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. 

Be Food Safe

Clean, separate, cook, chill

This video illustrates the four steps in safe food-handling. Learn how to help prevent harmful bacteria from making your family sick. (Running time: 2:25 minutes)

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Government of Canada food safety site


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