produce recallsKeith Warriner  from the University of Guelph commenting on recent recalls and questioning where Canidian’s food comes from:

Part of the problem is the fact that Canada gets as much as 80 per cent of its produce from California, where health officials have warned growers three times in the last three years about their growing

The Georgetown Independent (Ontario) reports that using provincial criteria, all food premises in Halton are ranked high, medium or low riskdepending on the type of food provided and to whom the food is served. The number of times each year that a food premise is inspected depends on its ranking. All food premises in Halton are inspected at least once per year, but some are inspected more frequently.
Public health inspectors’ visits to food premises are unannounced. During inspections, public health inspectors monitor and evaluate how staff handle, prepare, and servefood to ensure they use safe food handling practices and follow basic sanitation rules.Continue Reading Is the meal you’re buying safe to eat?

Brendan Wedley of the Peterborough Examiner (ON) reports that church suppers, service group dinners, strawberry socials and other community fundraising events would have been subject to stringent new regulations and inspections by public health inspectors.
Church suppers and other events have been exempt from Ontario’s food regulations.
Health Minister George Smitherman announced he will wait until at least the fall to regulate food sold at farmers’ markets and that the province will write regulations specifically for farmers’ markets.Continue Reading Food rules leave public at risk, warns medical officer

The Belleville Intelligencer reports that local health unit offers a food-handling course and while it is tailor made for those in the food business, anyone who dons an apron or chef’s hat should consider the program.
Most people are aware that a barbecue fueled by propane or natural gas can have its dangerous side. But the peril can come from other sources, such as those raw hamburger patties sitting patiently beside the barbecue, queuing up for the grill.
Cooks should be careful, because if the meat is left outside too long, nasty little bacteria like salmonella can also be whetting their appetite for a burger, too.Continue Reading Handle with care, for your own good

Columbian staff writer Tom Vogt reports that about 20 people have become sick in the past few days at a Vancouver retirement center, including eight who were transported to the hospital Monday and Tuesday.
Symptoms include vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Clark County health officials said Tuesday they still are investigating the cause of the outbreak at the Cascade Inn, 11613 S.E. Seventh St.Continue Reading Illness strikes senior center

The Canadian Press reports that federal agriculture inspectors are looking into the possibility of another case of mad cow disease, a spokesman for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Sunday.
“We have an ongoing testing program for BSE and that means from time to time we undertake confirmatory tests when we come up with a suspicious sample,” said Mark Van Dusen.
“We are undergoing such testing on a suspicious sample.”
Mr. Van Dusen said the animal must go to a Winnipeg lab for final tests. Inspectors should know within 48 hours if they have another case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy on their hands.Continue Reading Ottawa looks into possible mad cow case

CBC.CA News reports that federal inspectors are testing an animal that is suspected of having mad cow disease, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.
Mark Van Dusen, a spokesperson for the federal agency, told the Canadian Press on Sunday that inspectors should know within two days whether they’ve discovered the country’s fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
The animal was to undergo testing at a lab in Winnipeg.
“We have an ongoing testing program for BSE and that means from time to time we undertake confirmatory tests when we come up with a suspicious sample,” Van Dusen told the news agency.Continue Reading Inspectors test possible BSE case

Melanie Hennessey of Metroland – Halton Division reports that a bylaw that would make it mandatory for all Halton restaurants to have their health department inspection reports available for the public to see came one step closer to reality this week.
At its meeting Tuesday, the region’s health and social services committee supported directing staff to prepare the bylaw that would make Dinewise –the Halton-wide program where restaurants voluntarily disclose the results of their inspection reports — compulsory.
The document is to be based on a draft bylaw staff previously drew up and circulated for comments from all restaurant owners in Halton. The proposed bylaw would take effect July 1, 2006.Continue Reading Dinewise may become mandatory; Bylaw would force restaurants to make inspection reports available to public

The Windsor Star reports that the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Ontario, is, according to this story, investigating after employees of a Lakeshore factory became severely ill after eating food brought into the plant from a Tecumseh restaurant.
So far, 44 people became sick after eating the food on Sept. 30, medical officer of health Dr.

Helen Branswell of the Canadian Press reports that public health officials on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border will be able to trace outbreaks of nasty foodborne pathogens like E. coli with greater ease from now on, thanks to an international agreement that will be signed Friday.
Electronic databases maintained by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control will be formally linked, allowing investigators in both countries to chase down more rapidly and efficiently outbreaks of foodborne illness that can often be hard to spot because they occur over multiple states and provinces.
“A lot of our food systems are very highly integrated. So what’s happening in Canada can be happening in the U.S. and what’s happening in the U.S. can be happening in Canada,” Dr. Frank Plummer, scientific director of the agency’s National Microbiology Laboratory, explained Thursday.Continue Reading Canada and U.S. link databases to facilitate tracing of food outbreaks