2016-08-17 Food Safety Testing Bulletin

August 2016
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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.

Allergen Reports

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Undeclared Sulphites in Children's Food (2012-2013)

In a targeted survey of 527 baking mixes, baked goods, canned fruit, cereals, cookies, desserts, infant foods and juice, 11 samples were found to contain sulphites that were not declared on the label. Sulphites are used as additives in food products, both as preservatives and to maintain colour. These additives may also be present due to cross-contamination during manufacturing. All positive results were followed up by the CFIA.

Chemical Residue Reports

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Antimony in Selected Foods (2012-2014)

In this targeted survey, 1,208 samples of food purchased at Canadian grocery stores were analyzed for antimony. Antimony is a metal that can be found naturally in the earth's crust and is used widely in a variety of manufacturing processes, including production of alloys, batteries, and plastics. Samples included domestic and imported beverages, nut and seed butters, condiments, frozen heat-and-serve meals, and processed fruits and vegetable products. None of the samples analyzed in this survey were found to contain a detectable level of antimony, therefore no follow up activities were necessary. The results of this survey and previously published CFIA results indicated that antimony is rarely found in food, and when found, the levels are very low.

Deoxynivalenol in Selected Foods (2012-2014)

Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a natural toxin that can contaminate grains and fruit. A targeted survey of 3,630 food samples showed twenty-three per cent of the samples tested did not contain detectable levels of this natural toxin. Samples in the survey included dried fruit and soy products, infant cereals and formula, and various grain products. Health Canada determined that the levels of DON detected on samples in this survey did not pose a health risk; therefore, no follow up activities were required.

Microbiology Reports

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Bacterial Pathogens and Generic E. coli in Pre-packaged Fresh-Cut Ready-to-Eat Vegetables (2012-2014)

A targeted survey on bacterial pathogens and generic E. coli in vegetables analyzed 2,679 samples for Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7/NM, Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella and generic E. coli as an indicator of fecal contamination. Over 99 per cent of samples were satisfactory. Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7/NM, Salmonella and Shigella were not detected in any samples. Generic E. coli levels were also acceptable for all samples. Only Listeria was detected in seven samples. The CFIA conducted appropriate follow-up activities for the contaminated product, including five product recalls. No reported illnesses were found to be associated with the contaminated products in this survey.

2012-2014 Salmonella, Listeria, and Generic E. coli in Tahini (2012-2014)

A targeted survey analyzed 1,166 samples of tahini for Salmonella, Listeria, and generic E. coli, as an indicator of fecal contamination. Tahini is a sesame seed-based processed food. Contaminated sesame seeds and/or cross-contamination due to poor hygiene practices during processing are believed to be the main sources of contamination. Listeria was not detected in any of the samples, and levels of generic E. coli were found to be acceptable in all the samples and Salmonella was found in four samples. The CFIA conducted appropriate follow-up activities for the contaminated samples, including four product recalls.

Pathogen Reduction Initiative (PRI)

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Microbiological Baseline Study in Broiler Chicken (2012-2013)

As part of the Pathogen Reduction Initiative (PRI) a national microbiological baseline study was conducted to test for Salmonella and Campylobacter in broiler chicken flocks, carcasses and parts at the abattoir and at retail. The prevalence of Salmonella in broiler chicken lots slaughtered in federally-registered establishments was 25.6 percent. The prevalence of Campylobacter in broiler chicken lots was 24.1 percent. The baseline data established through this study allows governments and industry to improve efforts to reduce risk in Canada's poultry products and further strengthen the food safety system. Findings will be used by a joint Federal/Provincial/Territorial Government and Industry Working Group for the development of national risk management strategies for the control of Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry.

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

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