Food Safety

Health Canada estimates that there are eleven million cases of foodborne illness or food poisoning, in Canada each year.* Bacteria, viruses, parasites, mould and their toxins can live and/or grow in some foods, and cause food-borne illness. Common symptoms of food-borne illness can include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever or chills. Additional symptoms can include headaches, muscle pain and weakness.

For those at risk - infants and young children, pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems - food poisoning can result in very serious health problems.

Everyone who handles food, people preparing food at home for their family or food service operators serving customers, must take care to ensure food is handled and prepared safely. Food safety is everyone’s responsibility!

Food Recalls and Allergy Alerts

Health Canada helps protect Canadians from potential food-related hazards by providing consumers with critical information regarding food advisories, recalls and allergy alerts. Health Canada works with federal partners such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), as well as with local public health units and territorial authorities to notify the public of potentially dangerous foods.

Food producers, manufacturers, importers and retailers use many procedures to protect the safety of food. However, at times, a product may be sold that poses a food safety or a food allergy risk. When the CFIA becomes aware of a potential serious hazard associated with a food,  the food product is recalled from the marketplace and a public warning is issued.  Food Recalls and Allergy Alerts are posted on the CFIA website.

Related Information:

Other sources for food safety information:

*Food-Related Illnesses, viewed on-line February 15, 2011 (


Last updated: July 26, 2013