How good is your Food Safety Knowledge?

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Food Safety Training

I recently ran into this article about a survey the federal government did to find out how much Canadians really know about safe food handling practices. 

The survey basically showed that many people didn’t know basic safe food practices like proper thawing, cooking, defrosting meat/seafood products etc.

Does that surprise you?  With an estimated 4 million cases of foodborne illness each year in Canada (according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency), it should not be surprising that Canadians Food Safety Knowledge isn’t, up to par.

This article got me wondering though, how much time do people really spend thinking about food safety?  It’s possible that most people don’t think much about it until they or someone they love actually gets a food-borne illness.

Those at High Risk

For most cases, people infected with a foodborne illness recover fully but there are certain groups of individuals that can get severely ill and even die.  These groups are often referred to as “vulnerable populations”. 

Seniors, Children, Pregnant women and immune compromised people are at the highest risk of severe illness or even death from a food-borne illness. 

Raising Awareness

Food Safety knowledge is, in my very biased opinion, important enough to deserve everyone’s attention.  Everyone should have a basic level of safe food handling.  The article talks about the government’s plan to raise awareness of food safety through a marketing campaign. However, there’s not a lot of details as to how they will actually do that. 

To truly raise awareness of food safety, it will take a consistent and comprehensive approach.

Food Safety Training for Everyone

Food safety training should be part of the education system and embedded into the school system curriculum.  It is an essential life skill and should be taught early in life so people can develop good food safety habits that last a lifetime.

Second, when food safety recalls happen, it is a good time to include food safety information.  People tend to pay attention to recalls when they are advertised so it’s an important time to include safe food handling information. 

Technology might have a role to play in increasing food safety knowledge in the general population.   There are several apps available that can provide health inspection restaurant ratings (admittedly these apps are not as popular in Canada as they are in other countries).  

Do you know or have seen technology that can help improve food safety knowledge?

Lastly, food businesses and food business owners have the legal and ethical obligation to make sure their staff have food safety certification and practice safe food handling.  Businesses can also play a part in raising the public food safety knowledge by making sure their products are clearly labelled and include important food safety information. 

So, what does this all mean?  Food safety is important!  From farm to fork, everyone plays a role in making sure food is produced and handled safely.

Michael is the co-founder of Food Safety Leaders and has over two decades of food safety experience. He is an adjunct instructor of advanced food safety at Concordia University, and a regular seminar speaker.

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