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Something you ate?
Episode 1: Outbreak response – The big picture

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The Public Health Agency of Canada has developed a series of four videos that help explain how we respond to large outbreaks of foodborne illness, or food poisoning as it is sometimes called. The first video provides an overview, the second and third explain how our investigation into the source of the illnesses unfolds and the fourth provides advice on how to reduce your risk of this type of illness. We're posting the videos individually over the coming weeks.

Anatomy of a Foodborne Illness Outbreak

Individual cases of foodborne illness are common in Canada. Outbreaks—two or more cases of illness that are linked by a common exposure within a specific time frame—are less common. When they occur, many food safety partners work together to try to control the spread of illness and find out the cause.

Did You Know

Who is responsible for responding to food safety issues and foodborne illness outbreaks? That responsibility is shared by all levels of government, regional public health units and the people involved in producing and selling food. Consumers also play a role.

In its section Food Safety Responsibilities, the Action on Weatherill Report Recommendations to Strengthen the Food Safety System: Final Report to CanadiansExternal Link, describes each partner’s role in food safety and foodborne illness outbreaks.

The Report also provides details on how the Government of Canada has strengthened the food safety system since 2008.

Read Anatomy of a Foodborne Illness Outbreak to learn how a typical outbreak unfolds—from one person getting sick, to identifying the same illness in others across the country, to sharing with Canadians how they can protect their health.

More food safety information

Visit the Government of Canada food safety portalExternal Link to stay on top of food safety.

Health Canada has food safety information aimed at specific groups that are at greater risk for serious illness, including a chart that lists foods to avoid and safer alternatives to those foods.

Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety EducationExternal Link provides information about food safety in the home.

Action on Weatherill Report Recommendations to Strengthen the Food Safety System: Final Report to CanadiansExternal Link describes changes made to the food safety system since 2008.

These links provide more detailed information about the tools we use to help us in our food safety work.