OTTAWA – Just as Canadians begin to hunker down for a winter season of home cooking, the Canadian Public Health Association is releasing EAT SAFE!, a new online resource that helps people minimize their personal risk from foodborne illness.
The production of this resource targeted at higher-risk groups, their caregivers and the broader Canadian population was made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
“Most bacteria, viruses and parasites that induce foodborne illness present a greater risk to seniors, pregnant women, people living with HIV, and people undergoing cancer treatment,” said CPHA Board member Dr. Lynn McIntyre. “Everyone should be aware of their personal level of risk for foodborne illness and follow some simple steps to safeguard their health, whenever they buy, cook, or store food.”
While the EAT SAFE! site has something for all Canadians, it is designed especially for four vulnerable populations:
- people living with HIV/AIDS;
- people undergoing cancer treatment;
- pregnant women.
These populations are more susceptible to foodborne illness which in some cases can be severe or even deadly.
Although Canada has one of the world’s best food safety systems, 11 to 13 million people contract foodborne illness each year. Food safety dominated news headlines during the Listeriosis outbreak in 2008 when Listeria was found in products produced by Maple Leaf Foods and claimed the lives of 23 Canadians, many from higher-risk groups. Maple Leaf Foods responded by making significant improvements in all areas of food safety and committing to become a leader in food safety, including providing consumer education and outreach.
“Vulnerable populations and their caregivers have a particular need for relevant information on food safety that is easily accessible,” said Maple Leaf Foods Chief Food Safety Officer, Dr. Randall Huffman. “Our partnership with CPHA and the development of the EAT SAFE! website provided an excellent opportunity to support our education and outreach initiative and help deliver important information to higher-risk Canadians on proper food safety practices, including which foods they should avoid.”
“The food industry and all levels of government have primary responsibility to deliver food that is safe, but consumers are an important link in that chain,” said CPHA Board member Dr. Lynn McIntyre. “With more than 74.9% of Canadians online today, people are more likely to turn to a computer search engine to find information, and we’re proud to deliver rich, relevant food safety information through the EAT SAFE! website.”
CPHA is also reaching out extensively to the public health and home care professionals who often act as first-line sources of health information for Canadians.
The website includes food safety fact sheets available as downloadable PDFs in English, French, and 11 other languages: Arabic, Chinese, Farsi (Persian), Inuktitut, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, and Urdu.
About The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA)
Founded in 1910, the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) is the independent voice for public health in Canada with links to the international community. As the only Canadian non-governmental organization focused exclusively on public health, CPHA is uniquely positioned to advise decision-makers about public health system reform and to guide initiatives to help safeguard the personal and community health of Canadians and people around the world. With a diverse membership representing more than 25 professions, a track record of success, a collaborative approach and national reach, CPHA is Canada’s public health leader. For more information about CPHA, visit www.cpha.ca.
About Maple Leaf Foods
About Maple Leaf Foods’ Food Safety Pledge
Maple Leaf Foods is committed to becoming a global leader in food safety and is actively engaged in food safety education. The company works with industry stakeholders to improve consumer understanding of food safety and to educate higher risk Canadians. To read Maple Leaf’s Food Safety Pledge, visit www.mapleleafpledge.com.
About Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading Canadian food processing company. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the company employs approximately 23,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia. The company had sales of $5.2 billion in 2009.