2016-06-08 Food Safety Testing Bulletin

June 2016
four images featuring food

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) priority is to protect consumers by safeguarding Canada's food supply. The Agency verifies that industry is meeting federal food safety requirements and conducts sampling and testing to detect food safety risks.

Monitoring the levels of chemical hazards, microbiological hazards, undeclared allergens, sulphites and gluten in the food supply helps the CFIA identify food safety hazards and develop risk management strategies to minimize potential risks to Canadians.

When non-compliance is found, the CFIA does not hesitate to take appropriate action. These actions may include notifying the manufacturer or importer, requesting a corrective action, additional inspections, conducting further directed sampling or product seizure and/or recall.

Chemical Residue Reports

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Ochratoxin A in Selected Foods (2011-2012)

A targeted survey analysed 1,290 samples for Ochratoxin A (OTA), a natural toxin which can contaminate grains during storage. Samples analyzed included infant foods, milled grain products, and processed cereal products among other foods. Fifty-six per cent of the samples did not contain detectable levels of OTA. Fifteen samples exceed Health Canada's proposed maximum levels for OTA. This data was shared with Health Canada to perform human health risk assessments. Health Canada concluded that the levels of OTA found in the samples did not pose a human health risk therefore no follow up activities were required.

Perchlorate in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Fruit and Vegetable Juice, Dairy-based Products and Infant Formulas (2011-2013)

A targeted survey analysed 1,426 samples of fresh fruit, vegetables, juices, dairy products, and infant formulas for perchlorate. Perchlorate is a chemical that occurs naturally in the environment and is also an environmental contaminant resulting from industrial processing. Overall, 44 per cent of fresh fruit, 74 per cent of fresh vegetable, 60 per cent of dairy-based products, and 56 per cent of infant formula samples analyzed were found to contain detectable levels of perchlorate. This data was shared with Health Canada to perform human health risk assessments. Health Canada concluded that the levels of perchlorate found in the samples did not pose a human health risk therefore no follow up activities were required.

Microbiology Reports

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Cyclospora cayetanensis and Cryptosporidium spp. in Fresh Leafy Herbs and Green Onions (2013-2014)

This A targeted survey analysed 1,116 samples of fresh leafy herbs and green onions for Cyclospora and Cryptosporidium. Cyclospora and Cryptosporidium are parasites which infect humans, primarily through contaminated food and water. None of the samples were positive for either parasite, therefore no follow up activities were required. This information is used to inform CFIA's food safety programs and inspection activities.

Viral Pathogens and Generic E. coli in Fresh Produce (2011-2013)

A targeted survey analysed 3,339 samples of fresh produce for viral pathogens including norovirus (NoV), hepatitis A virus (HAV), and human rotavirus (HRV). 1,959 of the samples were also tested for generic E. coli, a harmless bacterium that serves as an indicator of fecal contamination. Levels of generic E. coli were found to be acceptable in all the samples analyzed. HAV was not detected in any of the samples tested, while NoV was detected in 34 samples and HRV was detected in one sample. Immediate follow-up activities were not possible as the types of products examined during this survey had a very short shelf-life and were no longer on the market by the time the results were confirmed. No NoV, HRV or HAV outbreaks associated with the consumption of these products were reported in Canada during this survey.

A complete list of the CFIA's food safety testing reports is available.

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