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Canadian Food Safety Information Network (CFSIN)

The Canadian Food Safety Information Network (CFSIN) is a federal initiative led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), partnered with federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) organizations involved in food safety. This FPT partnership is designed to foster a collaborative food safety network across Canada supported by a suite of digital applications and services to help protect Canadians by improving the detection, prevention and response to food safety incidents.

The vision and objectives of CFSIN were formed following a 2008 outbreak of illness caused by the foodborne bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes that tragically claimed the lives of 22 Canadians. In response to the outbreak, the Government of Canada appointed an independent investigator, who recommended the establishment of an integrated FPT network to better respond to future food safety emergencies.

In September 2020, the CFIA launched the CFSIN platform, a suite of digital tools designed to help FPT food safety organizations share information and expertise securely and quickly.

Objectives of the CFSIN

The CFSIN aims to improve collaboration and cooperation between FPT organizations involved in food safety. This facilitates:

  • the detection and prevention of food safety issues;
  • the response to food safety hazards and foodborne illnesses across Canada; and,
  • the ability to demonstrate the strength of Canada's food safety system to trading partners.

The CFSIN connects FPT organizations that are involved in food safety, public health and food testing laboratories, and allows timely data and information sharing.

Benefits for Canadians

By facilitating information sharing and collaboration between food safety organizations, the CFSIN can improve the ability of FPT partners across Canada to use a proactive, science-based approach to mitigate food safety risks, and work together for a more protected food supply.

When issues do arise, the CFSIN can help FPT partners take quick and coordinated actions, through access to resources and digital tools, to reduce the impact of food safety incidents.

The ultimate vision of the CFSIN is to enhance the mitigation of food safety risks and incidents to better protect the health of Canadians.

Food safety organizations that are involved

The CFSIN links FPT organizations involved in food safety across Canada, including:

Federal partners:

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Health Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • National Research Council of Canada

Provincial and territorial partners:

  • Ministries with food safety related mandates (health, agriculture, environment, and others)
  • Public health authorities and laboratories

Video

Learn about how the CFSIN strengthens the ability of food safety organizations to work together to protect the health of Canadians.

Canadian Food Safety Information Network – More Sharing, More Safety - Transcript

Food inspectors inspect a number of food processing facilities and pieces of equipment.

A man and a woman in lab coats are measuring and moving food samples into bags.

A Canadian Food Inspection Agency liveried car rounds a corner.

Each year, Canada's food safety system detects and prevents foodborne hazards and contaminants from reaching Canadians – testament to the hard work of inspectors, scientists, lab technicians and other food safety personnel across the country.

An image appears on screen of the Canadian flag, and flags of Canadian provinces and territories blowing in the wind.

Today, the collective leadership of federal, provincial and territorial authorities is taking food safety to a whole new level by connecting partners – food safety authorities and food testing labs across Canada – in what they call the Canadian Food Safety Information Network or CFSIN.

Scenes of a variety of landscapes from across Canada appear on screen; a shot of the Vancouver waterfront, a field of yellow canola plants, the historic center of Quebec City and some cliffs and coastline.

An image of a sign of a Public Health Agency of Canada facility appears on screen.

A large group of people are sat in a boardroom talking, a man is presenting in front of a screen.

Moving text appears on screen saying "More Sharing, More Safety"

A map of Canada appears on screen, with text underneath stating "Canadian Food Safety Information Network" yellow dots appear on screen mapping out locations of laboratories and food safety authorities. Dotted blue lines appear linking the yellow dots, at which point they all turn green.

Canada's food safety system is robust and always improving. But incidents do occur – what's really needed to make the system more efficient is a common informatics system that lets partners collaborate and share information in near real-time.

With the CFSIN, Canada's food safety authorities and labs will now be able to share information and gain big-picture insights into incidents, trends and patterns from coast to coast to coast.

Star shaped red dots appear on various points on the map, representing food-borne illness outbreaks. They then move off of the map with green ticks appearing over them.

The CFSIN will make it easier for authorities to identify potential issues and connect with the relevant experts; decide how to respond and who to involve when an incident is confirmed; and launch coordinated action while tracking progress and updating partners across the network.

A scientist operates an immunology machine.

Scientists in lab coats stand in a room talking.

Two food inspectors walk and talk through a food processing facility.

A group of people are sat in a room talking.

Text appears on screen "CFSIN Partners: A Story of Collaboration".

By enhancing the ability to share information, data and expertise, CFSIN is enabling partners to better anticipate, detect, and respond to food safety incidents and other events.

A list of organizations appears on screen, including:

  • British Columbia Centre for Disease Control
  • British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture
  • Alberta Health Services
  • Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Alberta Ministry of Health
  • Saskatchewan Ministry of Health
  • Manitoba Agriculture
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food & Rural Affairs
  • Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
  • National Public Health Institute of Quebec
  • Government of New Brunswick, Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries
  • Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture
  • Government of Nunavut, Department of Health
  • Health Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada

Speaker: Denise MacGillivray, Director, Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Food Directorate, Health Canada. A woman speaks in English addressing an interviewer while looking slightly off camera.

I see it as an easier way to share information between each other, for instance during an outbreak, and a way for all of us to collectively work together and pool our collective resources to make sure that information is available for all of us to ensure safety of Canadians.

A man and a woman walk across a sunlit field carrying boxes of produce.

A graphic of planet earth rotates.

A room full of people look on attentively as various people present or discuss things in a boardroom.

Various scenes of road and sea freight being transported.

Canada's food safety system is already recognized as one of the best in the world. Making it even better through their collective leadership and collaboration, food safety authorities will inspire greater confidence not only among Canadians but also Canada's trading partners, which will promote international trade.

Speaker: Pascal Daigle, Director, Laboratory of Food Analysis Expertise, Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. A man looks slightly off-camera to an interviewer while speaking in French.

Collaborating on this network has fostered a climate of confidence, which encourages exchange among participants, allowing us to see the scope of what can be done in food safety across the country if we combine our efforts.

A map of Canada appears on screen, with a number of yellow points appearing, dotted lines gradually connect the yellow dots, turning them green as they do so.

A graphic of blue icons representing people appears on screen, blue lines connect them with smaller lines bouncing back and forth between the groups of connected people.

The ability to share and access information and expertise across Canada means food safety authorities can better detect and respond to issues before they become health risks.

More sharing. More safety. That's the ultimate promise of the CFSIN.

Contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for more information about the CFSIN.

Text appears on screen: inspection.gc.ca/CFSIN

CFSIN platform

The CFSIN platform offers a suite of five digital tools for use by the CFSIN partners, which are housed on a secure web-based portal. The tools are described below.

Collaboration

The CFSIN Collaboration tool gives FPT partners access to a community of food safety experts across Canada in a secure space and allows them to share information and expertise to work on common priorities, like research and food safety surveillance.

Environmental scanning

The CFSIN Environmental Scanning (ES) tool is an online search engine that makes it easier for FPT partners to stay up to date with emerging risks from global food hazards by allowing them to scan thousands of sources of information. The ES tool makes it easier to identify and analyze emerging risks from food hazards around the world.

Data repository and intelligence

The CFSIN Intelligence tool is a repository of food safety surveillance laboratory testing data from CFSIN FPT partners integrated in one database. The Intelligence tool allows partners to view and analyze the data, and produce reports based on the entire data set. With access to larger data sets, partners can get a more comprehensive picture of food safety risks across the country, look for gaps in oversight, and make more informed decisions.

Laboratory mapping

The CFSIN Laboratory Mapping tool provides an inventory of Canadian food safety laboratory profiles for FPT partners. The tool allows partners to quickly and conveniently identify laboratory locations, their testing capabilities, availability of surge capacity and contact details, to support peer collaboration and response during food safety events.

Event management

The CFSIN Event Management tool allows FPT partners to manage communication and actions during food safety events, including those occurring across multiple jurisdictions. Partners can rapidly and securely share key food safety information and laboratory test results, as well as coordinate sampling activities.

Contact us

For more information, please contact us at: CFSIN-RCISA@inspection.gc.ca.