2019-05-15 Food Safety Testing Bulletin

May 2019
Four images featuring food

One of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) top priorities 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 and microbiological hazards, undeclared allergens and gluten in the food supply helps CFIA identify food safety hazards and develop risk management strategies to minimize potential risks to Canadians.

When non-compliance is found, 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.

Microbiology Reports

image of microscopic pathogens

Risk Based Verification Bulletin (2015-2018)

Meat and poultry products that do not require any further preparation before consumption, except washing, rinsing, thawing or warming, are considered to be ready-to-eat (RTE) foods. Due to the potential food safety risk associated with RTE foods, all federally registered establishments in Canada producing RTE meat or poultry products are subject to sampling and testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157. Industry is also required to implement a similar sampling and testing program with CFIA oversight.

Between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2018:

  • CFIA sampled and tested a total of 2,862 samples for Listeria monocytogenes resulting in 12 positives for an average prevalence rate of 0.42%.
  • Industry sampled and tested a total of 4,892 samples for Listeria monocytogenes resulting in 18 positives for an average prevalence rate of 0.37%.
  • CFIA sampled and tested a total of 1,263 samples for Salmonella resulting in 1 positive for an average prevalence rate of 0.08%.
  • Industry sampled and tested a total of 4,904 samples for Salmonella resulting in 3 positives for a prevalence rate of 0.06%.
  • CFIA and industry sampled and tested a total of 272 samples for Escherichia coli O157 resulting in 0 positives.

The prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157 found via CFIA and industry testing is comparable and is considered to be low. Lower prevalence indicates safer food for the Canadian public. Appropriate follow-up actions took place for each food product that was found positive for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella.

Bacterial Pathogens in Dried Sprouted Seed Products (2014-2018)

A targeted survey on bacterial pathogens in dried sprouted seed products analyzed 1,936 samples for Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7), non-O157 Verotoxigenic E. coli (non-O157 VTEC), Salmonella species (spp.), Bacillus cereus (B. cereus), Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens), Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and generic E. coli. Over 97% of dried sprouted seed products were assessed as satisfactory. For the remainder of the samples, CFIA conducted appropriate follow-up activities such as facility inspections and additional sampling. The Salmonella positive samples that were found resulted in recalls of the affected products. No illnesses were reported in association with any of the positive samples.

Bacterial Pathogens in Chocolate-Based Confectionaries (2016-2018)

A targeted survey analyzed 3,173 samples of chocolate-based confectionaries for bacterial pathogens. All samples were tested for Salmonella spp., coliforms and generic Escherichia coli (E. coli). No Salmonella spp and generic E. coli were found in any of the samples. High levels of coliforms were found in 3 samples. CFIA conducted appropriate follow-up activities such as facility inspections and additional sampling. No illnesses were reported in association with any of the positive samples.

Bacterial Pathogens in Pre-Prepared, Refrigerated Baked Desserts (2016-2018)

A targeted survey on bacterial pathogens in pre-prepared, refrigerated baked desserts analyzed 2,975 samples for generic Escherichia coli (E. coli), Bacillus cereus (B. cereus), Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens), Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) and Salmonella species (spp.). No C. perfringens and Salmonella spp. were found in any of the samples. Elevated levels of B. cereus were found in 3 samples. Elevated levels of S. aureus were found in 1 sample and L. monocytogenes was found in 1 sample. Generic E. coli was found in 12 samples. CFIA conducted appropriate follow-up activities such as facility inspections. No illnesses were reported in association with any of the positive samples.

Bacterial Pathogens in Powdered Infant Formula (2015-2018)

A targeted survey analyzed 3,962 samples of powdered infant formula for bacterial pathogens. All samples were tested for Enterobacteriaceae. Of the 3,962 samples, 2,965 were tested for generic Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella spp. and 997 samples were tested for Cronobacter spp. No Salmonella spp., Cronobacter spp. and generic E. coli were found in any of the samples. Enterobacteriaceae were found in 2 samples. CFIA conducted appropriate follow-up activities such as additional sampling. No illnesses were reported in association with any of the positive samples.

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

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