FOOD ILLNESS TRIGGERED FROM ORGANIC PRODUCTS
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 17:34
As a United Nations organization put a spotlight on global food safety issues, a Saskatchewan-based researcher had high praise for Canada’s system of checks and balances.
The World Health Organization used its annual World Health Day last week to focus on issues of food-borne illnesses and safety risks in global supply chains that ship meat and livestock, fruits and vegetables and bulk commodities around the world.
The UN agency released findings from an upcoming study that found 582 million cases food-borne illnesses in 2010, which resulted in 351,000 deaths. Salmonella, E. coli and norovirus were the most common of the 22 food-borne illnesses reported.
“Canada has one of the top, if not the top, food safety systems in the world. Other countries look to our regulatory system as a model of food safety,” said Stuart Smyth, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s bioresource policy, business and economics department.
“Many developing countries just don’t have the fiscal resources to have the level of quality and control that we do in Canada to ensure that the food products that are available for purchase in our grocery stores are as safe as they possibly can be.”
Smyth’s assessment mirrors that of a 2014 Conference Board of Canada report, which ranked Canada’s food safety performance first among 17 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The report, which surveyed the country’s ability to assess, control and mitigate risks, cited a low number of reported food-borne illnesses and recalls as a reason for the top billing.
It also recommended the country improve monitoring with more frequent dietary intake surveys.
Smyth said a regular food safety issue in Canada is related to organic foods.