2016-09-08 Food Safety Testing Bulletin

September 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 Soy and Gluten in Infant Cereal (2013-2014)

In a targeted survey of 196 prepackaged infant cereals, none were found positive for soy or gluten. Samples included single and mixed grain, as well as flavoured infant cereals. Undeclared allergens in food may represent a serious or life-threatening health risk for allergic or sensitive individuals. Follow-up actions were not deemed necessary given that none of the samples were positive for soy or gluten.

Chemical Residue Reports

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Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Infant Formulas, Meal Replacements, and Nutritional Supplements (2012-2013)

In this targeted survey, 291 samples of food were analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Samples included meal replacement beverages, nutritional supplements, and infant formulas. Infant formulas had very low frequencies of detection and levels of all metals. Meal replacements and nutritional supplement beverages generally had higher frequencies and concentrations of detectable metals; however, the levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury were consistent with past targeted surveys. Health Canada found the results of this survey posed no risks to human health; therefore, no follow up activities were required.

Aflatoxins in Selected Foods (2013-2014)

Aflatoxins are naturally occurring compounds known to occur in grains, nuts, fruit and spices. In a targeted survey of 969 samples of corn, nuts and nut butter, cocoa powder, spice powder, bread, breakfast and infant cereal, and dried fruit products, most of the samples (94.7 per cent) did not contain a detectable level of aflatoxins. Health Canada determined that none of the samples posed a risk to human health and as a result, no follow up activities were required.

Microbiology Reports

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Bacterial Pathogens and Generic E. coli in Tomatoes (2012-2013)

This A targeted survey on bacterial pathogens and generic E. coli in tomatoes analyzed 1,262 samples for Salmonella and Shigella, as well as generic E. coli as an indicator of fecal contamination. Salmonella and Shigella were not detected in any of the samples, and levels of generic E. coli were found to be acceptable in all the samples. All samples (100 per cent) were assessed as satisfactory; therefore, no follow up activities were required.

Annual Reports

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National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program Annual Report (2013-2014)

As part of the CFIA's annual monitoring of various food products for chemical residues, the overall compliance rate of the 2013-2014 National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program (NCRMP) report was 98.3 per cent. More than 114,000 tests for residues of veterinary drugs, pesticides, metals and other contaminants were performed on over 18,000 samples of dairy products, eggs, honey, meat products, fresh fruits and vegetables, processed products, and maple products. Overall compliance rates were high for all commodities tested and the results observed were consistent with those seen in previous years. All violations were followed-up with appropriate action.

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

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