FoodNet Canada (formerly known as C-EnterNet) is made up of three food safety surveillance sites located across the country. It is currently active in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario and Fraser Region, British Columbia. It is expanding to a third site in Calgary and Central Alberta, which is expected to be active in January 2014. The addition of a third site will generate results that take into account a greater portion of the Canadian population. It will improve our food safety surveillance and assist us and our partners to help maintain healthy and safe food for Canadians.
Each of the surveillance sites collects detailed information about food-borne illness, commonly known as food-poisoning, in Canadians and traces those illnesses back to their sources, such as food, water and animals.
For example, samples may be taken from fresh packaged produce, ground beef and chicken breasts from grocery stores; manure from farms; water from fresh-water beaches and surface water that supplies municipal drinking water.
These samples are then tested for microorganisms and any that are found are compared to the microorganisms that cause disease in humans. This information tells us which sources are causing the most illness among Canadians and helps us track illnesses and their causes over time.
It also provides evidence to federal and provincial governments, industry and other food safety partners on the effectiveness of the food safety system. It gives them practical information to help improve their food safety efforts and to take targeted measures to prevent outbreaks and food-borne illness in Canadian families.
For example, FoodNet Canada recently identified E. coli O26 in ground beef as part of routine sampling. This information was shared with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which was able to issue a recall of the food product and help to prevent Canadians from becoming sick.
FoodNet Canada relies on collaboration with public health partners at all levels of government, industry and other stakeholders within each site.
For additional information, please view the FoodNet Canada page on the Agency’s website.