A recent government-backed survey in Canada estimated that Canadians don’t know much about food safety and how to prepare the food adequately to avoid food-borne illnesses and poisoning.
The study, which cost the Canadian Government about $127,000, pointed out that the Canadians are less confident that they can protect themselves and their children from food poisoning and food-borne illnesses.
Although there is a high risk of food poisoning when the food is inadequately prepared or food-borne diseases when the foods are not adequately cooked, Canadian pregnant women and elderlies didn’t consider themselves threatened.
The study recommends the authorities to run public campaigns to increase awareness regarding food-borne illnesses and food poisoning, “without undermining the public’s confidence in agriculture or the agri-food industry, or Canada’s food safety system, which is reasonably good.”
The survey has been carried out based on the answers offered by about 1,200 participants by telephone, as well as on the answers given by approximately 1,600 respondents via an online surveys panel.
Canadians don’t know much about food safety, and that’s reflecting into the annual numbers of food-borne illnesses cases
“The results of this survey also suggest an ‘out of sight, out-of-mind’ tendency among the public with regards to safe food handling in general, food-borne illness and listeria in particular. In the absence of sustained messaging related to food safety, it is likely that consumer vigilance may lapse, especially with respect to specific food safety practices that have not yet become normalized or habitualized,” the survey’s report reads.
Annually, more than four million Canadians are suffering from food-borne illnesses, such as listeria, salmonella, or norovirus. Among them, each year, about 11,500 hospitalizations and approximately 250 deaths are recorded.
The study’s report recommends some common-sense food safety guidelines, including washing meat, vegetables, and fruits before eating or cooking, cleaning shopping bags before reuse, and adequately storing and preparing meat and seafood. Also, the specialists recommended defrosting meat in the fridge rather than at the room temperature.