2016-11-10 Food Safety Testing Bulletin

November 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 Cookies (2013-2014)

In a targeted survey of 595 samples of prepackaged cookies, 22 were positive for one or more undeclared allergens or gluten. Allergens analyzed included: soy, egg, milk, peanut, almond, hazelnut, sesame, and gluten. 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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Aluminum in Baking Powders, Baking Mixes, Baked Goods, and Breads (2013-2015)

A targeted survey analyzing 940 samples of baking powders, baking mixes, baked goods, and breads for aluminum found 99 per cent of samples contained the metal. These results were expected as aluminum occurs naturally in the environment and is expected to be present at low levels in foods. All aluminum levels were assessed by Health Canada and it was determined none of the levels detected in this survey posed a risk to human health. As a result, no product recalls were required.

Bisphenol A in Canned Foods (2013-2014)

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate and epoxy resins. Food and beverage packaging, especially metal cans, may be internally coated with epoxy resins containing BPA to protect food from direct contact with packaging material. Results from a targeted survey of 391 samples of canned pastas, soups, vegetables, infant formulas, beverages, fruits, pie fillings, and curry products showed 35.5 per cent of samples did not contain detectable levels of BPA. This targeted survey had similar detection rates to previous CFIA surveys, international studies, and the National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program data. Health Canada evaluated the data and determined that levels of BPA found in the remaining samples did not pose a risk to human health; therefore, no follow up actions were needed.

Microbiology Reports

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Bacterial Pathogens and Generic E. coli in Green Onions (2012-2014)

A targeted survey on bacterial pathogens in green onions analyzed 2,903 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. Most samples (99.7 per cent) were found to be satisfactory. One sample was positive for Salmonella and seven for high levels of generic E. coli. Follow up food safety investigations resulted in one product recall. In addition, elevated but acceptable levels of generic E. coli were found in two products. These levels did not warrant follow up activities.

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

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