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Food Tampering

Food tampering

Food tampering is the intentional contamination of a food product, with the intent to cause harm to the consumer or to a private company.

Food tampering may affect any part of the food product, such as the product itself, or it can affect the packaging and the label.

Tampering with food is a serious matter and is a punishable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.

In Canada, food tampering incidents do not happen often. However, it's important to be cautious and to familiarize yourself with the issue of food tampering.

Causes of food tampering

A person or persons may tamper with food for a variety of reasons, including:

Measures to prevent food tampering in the food supply chain

The CFIA has emergency response procedures designed to protect food, plants and animals from accidental or intentional events. The Agency is ready to act quickly and effectively in response to emergencies that affect food safety and the agricultural sector.

These measures support

The food industry reviews current procedures and controls:

Despite government and industry systems that are in place to monitor food safety, a product may still be contaminated at any point in the food supply chain, which extends from farms to stores.

Signs that food has been tampered with

It's sometimes hard to tell if a food has been tampered with or if it's just been accidentally damaged. In either case, you should not eat suspicious products.

Signs of tampering may include:

Steps to take if you find a suspicious food product at home: remember I-N-K

If you find a suspicious food product at home, follow these steps.

Isolate the food

Notify authorities

Keep information

Steps the CFIA takes in a food safety investigation

The CFIA and the company involved will work with the local police.

The CFIA will conduct its own food safety investigation as well, which can include

If there is a threat to the public, the CFIA will inform the public.

Steps you can take to help recognize food tampering

There are several things you can do to help yourself recognize if food has been tampered with. They include the following:

By personally inspecting the food you eat, you become an important part of Canada's food safety system.

The Government of Canada's role in food safety

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety.

Health Canada establishes regulations and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of food sold in Canada. Through inspection and enforcement activities, the CFIA is responsible for verifying that food sold in Canada meets Health Canada's requirements.


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