Canadian researchers rank Canada’s food safety system as world’s best; Chapman ranks himself as top-5 hockey player in NC

And I’m the best goalie in Australia (not).

ITALY-G8-G5-AGRICULTURE-FARMPress release before publishing – and peer review – reached new depths as academics at the University of Guelph proclaimed Canada’s food safety system the best in the world, in a report released today by the Conference Board of Canada.

“Canada has one of the safest and healthiest food systems in the world as confirmed by this study,” said Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health. “Our Government remains committed to our continuing efforts to further strengthen Canada’s food system to ensure that Canadian families can continue to have confidence in the food they buy and eat.”

According to the executive summary (you have to sign up to get the report) “food safety data segmentation and limitations hamper the world’s ability to select, build up, monitor, and evaluate food safety performance. Currently, there is no metric that captures the entire food safety system, and performance data are not collected strategically on a global scale. Therefore, benchmarking is essential not only to help monitor ongoing food safety performance but also to inform continued food safety system design, adoption, and implementation toward more efficient and effective food safety preparedness, responsiveness, and accountability.”

south.park.canadaAnd what academic report would be complete without a call for “funding future food safety data collection is recommended, as is hosting a food safety summit for nations to find consensus on common robust food safety performance measurements, drawing on metrics from this study, among others.”

Canada, striving for mediocracy.

‘Get out of Ukraine’ G20 leaders enjoy lavish seafood BBQ

The G20 is over, Brisbane is slowly returning to normal, but it was Canadian PM Stephen Harper who stole the show when he met blame_canadaRussia’s Putin and said, “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but get out of Ukraine.”

The leaders were treated to a seafood BBQ featuring Moreton Bay bugs, Mooloolaba king prawns, shucked oysters (hopefully they were cooked), and Tasmanian ocean trout.

We had our own Tassie trout on Saturday.

trout.nov.14

Separation of church (hockey) and state: Micro results for Canada, 2012-2013

As part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) annual testing of various food products, a report released today shows that more than 99 per cent of a wide variety of food samples tested were compliant with Canadian guidelines and standards for microbial hazards and extraneous materials.

canada.gretzgy.colbertThe CFIA’s National Microbiological Monitoring Program (NMMP) tests a wide range of commodities for multiple hazards, including microbial hazards, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella, and extraneous material, such as glass and metal objects. The testing carried out under the NMMP includes domestic and imported red meat and poultry products, shell eggs and egg products, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables and processed fruit and vegetable products.

When potential food safety concerns are detected they are assessed to determine the level of risk posed to consumers and the appropriate follow-up action. These actions may include notifying the producer or importer, additional inspections, or further directed sampling. If Health Canada determines that a product poses a health risk to consumers, a product recall is initiated.

The overall finding of this survey suggests that the vast majority of food sold in the Canadian marketplace is produced and handled under good manufacturing practices. However, contamination of foods with disease-causing microorganisms could sporadically occur. Consumers should follow these safety tips when handling, preparing and storing food at Healthy Canadians.

Quick Facts

    • 99.4 per cent of 4,980 samples of domestic and imported food products were compliant with Canadian guidelines and standards.
    • The NMMP also collected wash water samples and surface swabs within various food production environments. These environmental samples are used to verify that food products are produced under sanitary conditions. 99.7 per cent of 1,892 environmental samples were compliant.

Canadian says McDonald’s coffee contained dead mouse

Ron Morais of Fredericton says he got more than he bargained for when he picked up a cup of coffee from a local McDonald’s restaurant on his way to work.

dead-mouseHe was contendedly sipping his coffee that he got Monday from the Prospect Street location until he got to the bottom of the paper takeout cup.

“I always take the lid off to get my last sip of coffee. And when I took the lid off, there was a little bit of a surprise in my coffee cup. It was a dead mouse,” Morais said.

Morais said that wasn’t all that was in the cup. He said the mouse left “a few little, shall we say, presents” at the bottom of it.

Morais then showed a few of his co-workers what he had found.

“Unless I had been there and seen Ron drink all that coffee down to the last drop, I would have been, like, ‘You’re lying,’” said one colleague, Brad Patterson.

Jennifer LaHaye, another co-worker who saw the mouse, recalls Morais’s reaction.

“’Oh my God, there’s a mouse in my coffee,’ is what he says. I turn around and look at him. The first time I looked, I actually looked and it’s really, he’s not joking,” LaHaye said.

“Like is he OK — and after that, I got green to the gills.”

Jason Patuano, the communications manager for the eastern region for McDonald’s Canada, issued a corporate statement that underscored how seriously the chain takes food safety.

“We take allegations involving cleanliness and sanitation very seriously,” the statement said.

“Upon learning of this situation, the local franchisee immediately began an investigation, including working closely with the local public health authority who conducted an inspection this [Tuesday] morning following receiving a complaint.”

14K tests, 98.7% compliance: Canadian annual microbiology report 2011-12

The Government of Canada verifies that food produced and/or sold in Canada meets federal food safety standards to ensure Canadians have confidence in what they buy. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) monitors and regulates food products that are produced domestically and moved inter-provincially, or are imported.

professor.fink.Simpsons.jpgWithin Canada, all food products must comply with the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, which set out criteria for safe food and clearly prescribe restrictions on the production, importation, sale, composition and content of food.

The National Microbiological Monitoring Program (NMMP) is one of many tools utilized by the CFIA to verify that domestically produced and imported products meet Canadian standards. It is designed to sample and test a broad range of imported and domestic commodities for multiple hazards, including microbial hazards and extraneous material. The testing carried out under the NMMP covers red meat and poultry products, shell eggs and egg products, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables and processed fruit and vegetable products.

As CFIA focuses its monitoring activities towards specific food-related hazards that may impair the health and safety of Canadians, it is important to note that most testing is in commodities that are not further processed by the consumer as well as in raw food, that if not properly cooked, can lead to illness. It is generally accepted that proper precautions taken in the home will destroy any bacteria that may be present.

During the 2011/12 fiscal year under the NMMP, 14307 tests were performed on 5234 domestic and imported products. Specifically, 9049 tests were performed on 3678 domestic products and 5258 tests were performed on 1556 imported products to verify they were compliant with Canadian standards. Results indicated that domestic products were 99.0% compliant and imported products were 98.0% compliant. Overall, a 98.7% compliance rate for combined domestic and imported products was observed.

In addition to testing food products, wash water samples and surface swabs taken within the food production environment are used to verify that food products are produced under sanitary conditions. This type of environmental sampling was performed in domestic establishments to verify the operator systems’ ability to control the presence of pathogens within the processing environment. During 2011/12, there were 2300 tests performed on 1878 environmental samples which were assessed as 97.5% compliant.

The results of the 2011/12 NMMP sampling activities demonstrate that the products available in the Canadian marketplace are for the majority compliant with national standards. 

More tampered Canadian potatoes discovered

CBC News reports that tampered potatoes from P.E.I. have reached other parts of Atlantic Canada.

Potato Head2Over the last few days, police received three reports of tampered potatoes, one in Neil’s Harbour, Nova Scotia, one in Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland and one in Chance Cove, Newfoundland.

All the potatoes contained a metal object. 

Police believe the potatoes originated from Linkletter Farms in P.E.I.

In all three of the most recent instances, the foreign metal objects were discovered prior to consumption and no one was injured.

With the latest reports, this makes five reports so far of metal objects found in potatoes packaged at Linkletter Farms.

All the tampered potatoes were on a voluntary recall list issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, October 7.

Epidemiology, just trying to do this jigsaw puzzle: Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with lettuce served at fast food chains in the Maritimes and Ontario, Canada, Dec 2012

Background: Identification and control of multi-jurisdictional foodborne illness outbreaks can be complex because of their multidisciplinary nature and the number of investigative partners involved.

spongebob.oil.colbert.may3.10Objective: To describe the multi-jurisdictional outbreak response to an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Canada that highlights the importance of early notification and collaboration and the value of centralized interviewing.

Methods: Investigators from local, provincial and federal jurisdictions, using a national outbreak response protocol to clarify roles and responsibilities and facilitate collaboration, conducted a rapid investigation that included centralized re-interview of cases, descriptive methods, binomial probability, and traceback findings to identify the source of the outbreak.

Results: There were 31 laboratory confirmed cases identified in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. Thirteen cases (42%) were hospitalized and one case (3%) developed hemolytic uremic syndrome; there were no deaths. Due to early notification a coordinated investigation was initiated before laboratory subtyping was available. Re-interview of cases identified 10 cases who had not initially reported exposure to the source of the outbreak. Less than one week after the Outbreak Investigation Coordinating Committee was formed, consumption of shredded lettuce from a fast food chain was identified as the likely source of the illnesses and the implicated importer/processor initiated a precautionary recall the same day.

Conclusion: This outbreak investigation highlights the importance of early notification, prompt re-interviewing and collaboration to rapidly identify the source of an outbreak.

Canada Communicable Disease Report CCDR

Tataryn J, Morton V, Cutler J, McDonald L, Whitfield Y, Billard B, Gad RR and Hexemer A

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/14vol40/dr-rm40s-1/dr-rm40s-1-ecoli-eng.php

King Harvest has Surely Come: Everything you need to know about Canadian Thanksgiving

We decided to forgo the Canadian Thanksgiving this year for the first time – ever.

thanksgiving,south.parkTwo intense weekends of hockey, jobs, school, and turkey about $5 a pound (although they walk around the neighborhood and Amy could take one out with a crossbow and clean it in no time except they’re a protected species in Australia) means maybe I’ll use up the can of Spam.

And we’ll aim for the American one.

Funny or Die has its own take on my favorite celebration of the harvest.

In addition to being Indigenous Peoples’ Day, today is also another important holiday: Canadian Thanksgiving (or as they call it in Canada, “Canadian Thanksgiving”). To understand how our northern neighbor’s version of the holiday differs from our own, consume the following Fact Blast:

  • On Canadian Thanksgiving, Canadians make a big roast turkey, clasp hands, and tell each other how grateful they are to be a family, just as at every other Canadian meal.
  • Today is the traditional day for children to receive their first maple leaf tattoo.
  • A common table centerpiece is a cornucopia filled with free healthcare.
  • The holiday takes place two weeks after Canadian Halloween, which is the 31st of Canadian August, and always on a Monday, which is known as Canadian Thursday.
  • Canadian Thanksgiving is a national holiday, but all Canadians still go to work in case Americans need anything.
  • The holiday is always followed by “You’re Welcome, Eh” Day.
  • The Prime Minister ceremoniously pardons a turkey, and also every criminal.
  • The traditional Canadian Thanksgiving prayer goes, “Thank you Lord for all of Canada, except of course for Quebec.”
  • There is also pie, but it is made with the Canadian equivalent of pumpkins, chewing gum.
  • Canadian Thanksgiving marks the first day of Canadian Burning Man, an anarchistic (within reason) festival that culminates in a huge statue of “the man” being told politely “no thank you.”
  • Canadian Thanksgiving does NOT involve playing mean pranks on Native Americas, as U.S. Thanksgiving does.