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How food testing helps keep you safe

How food testing helps keep you safe – Transcript

Narrator: Canada has one of the safest food systems in the world. And at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), we work hard to keep it that way.

But have you ever wondered when and how we test food products?

Each year, through a process called food surveillance, we conduct tens of thousands of tests to identify products that might be contaminated and make you or your loved ones sick.

It's how we detect allergens (like peanuts), chemical hazards (like lead or mercury) and microbiological hazards (like Salmonella).

On-screen text: Allergens

In Canada, 2.3 million people are affected by food allergies. They can be life-threatening for those who experience severe reactions or anaphylaxis.

That's why we test for a range of allergens, including crustaceans and molluscs, fish, eggs, gluten, milk, mustard, peanuts, sesame, soy, sulphites, tree nuts, and wheat and triticale.

On-screen text: Chemical hazards

When it comes to chemical hazards (like lead or mercury), we look at how much of the chemical is present and if it's within acceptable levels.

That's important because consuming elevated levels of some contaminants over your lifetime could increase your risk for health issues.

On-screen text: Microbiological hazards

Microbiological hazards are bacteria (like Salmonella), viruses and parasites that can cause food poisoning.

Following good food safety practices in your own kitchen can help reduce your risk of getting sick. For example, knowing how to properly cook, clean, chill and separate foods while handling and preparing them goes a long way.

On-screen text: What happens next

When we detect any of these hazards, we act quickly to protect you.

This could mean assessing the health risk, contacting the manufacturer or importer, asking the company to take some actions (like re-labelling a product), more inspections, further testing, or seizing and destroying products.

Companies could also recall products from the marketplace.

On-screen text: Stay informed

We publish reports and summaries of food surveillance activities on our website.

To get the latest food safety testing reports from the CFIA, sign up for email notifications and follow us on social media.

On-screen text: inspection.canada.ca/StayConnected

[End of recording]

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