2016-10-11 Food Safety Testing Bulletin

October 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 Allergens and Gluten in Chocolate (2013-2014)

In a targeted survey of 583 samples of chocolate, 34 were positive for one or more undeclared allergens or gluten. Samples included prepacked chocolate, such as bars and chips, as well as chocolate based dessert toppings, granola bars, and crackers. All positive results were evaluated by the CFIA, taking into account the fact that not all detectable levels of undeclared allergens and gluten pose a risk to consumers. The CFIA took appropriate follow up actions based on health risk assessments by Health Canada. Follow up actions can include further inspection, additional directed sampling, a food safety investigation, and products recalls.

Chemical Residue Reports

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Lead in Candy, Chocolate, Dried Herbs and Spices (2012-2013)

In this targeted survey, 425 samples of food were analyzed for lead. Samples included cocoa powder, chocolate, candies, and dried herbs and spices. Results showed that 380 samples contained detectable levels of lead. Lead is not permitted to be added to foods; however, due to its widespread presence in the environment, it is generally detected in all foods, usually at very low levels. Health Canada found the results of this survey posed no risks to human health; therefore, no follow up activities were required.

Microbiology Reports

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Bacterial Pathogens and Generic E. coli in Fresh-Cut Fruits (2012-2014)

A targeted survey on bacterial pathogens in fresh-cut fruits analyzed 2,068 samples for Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli O157:H7/NM, and Listeria monocytogenes. The survey also analyzed samples for generic E. coli as an indicator of fecal contamination. Salmonella, Shigella, and E. coli O157:H7/NM were not detected in any of the samples. Listeria monocytogenes was found in 10 samples. The CFIA conducted appropriate follow-up activities for the Listeria monocytogenes positive products, including directed sampling and inspection of the processing facilities. No recalls were deemed necessary for the affected products. In addition, elevated but acceptable levels of generic E. coli were found in three products. These levels did not warrant follow up activities. No illnesses were reported in association with the contaminated products in this survey.

Bacterial Pathogens and Generic E. coli in Fresh Leafy Herbs (2012-2014)

A targeted survey of 2,472 leafy herb samples for bacterial pathogens found 99.5 per cent to be satisfactory. Samples were analyzed for Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli O157:H7/NM, and Campylobacter. The survey also analyzed samples for generic E. coli as an indicator of fecal contamination. One sample was contaminated with Salmonella and seven samples had high levels of generic E. coli. Follow up investigations were conducted and it was determined there was no risk to human health; therefore, no recalls were necessary. No illnesses were reported in association with the contaminated products in this survey.

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

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