World Health Day, celebrated on April 7 every year is a unique opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a priority area of global public health concern. This year, World Health Day focuses on Food Safety.
Each year more than four million Canadians get food poisoning. Whether dining out, or preparing food in our own homes, poisoning caused by contaminated food is unpleasant with symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening. The health and safety of every Halton resident is our primary concern, and it is important to know that food safety is about protecting consumers from the risks of food poisoning and foodborne diseases, acute or chronic.
Food safety is everyone’s responsibility and fortunately it is largely preventable. For this reason, World Health Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the important work being done in the area of food safety by the Halton Region Health Department. We not only take a proactive approach to educating the general public, but the Halton Region Health Department works with the food services industry to provide a wealth of programs, information and resources, including:
- Halton Region Public Health Inspectors regularly conduct food safety inspections of all food premises including: restaurants, vending trucks, grocers, hospitals, nursing homes and day care centres.
- The Halton.ca website contains important information about food safety in the home, including information on how to properly clean, prepare, refrigerate and cook food thoroughly. The site also has links to information on food recalls and allergy alerts.
- Available to all staff working in the food services industry, Halton Region offers courses in safe food handling through its Food Handler Certification Program.
- The Halton Region Health Department promotes the Dinewise program, a mandatory food safety disclosure program for food premises. Owners and operators must post their Certificate of Inspection in a highly visible area so that customers can see that the premise is regularly inspected by the Health Department. Residents can also view Summary Inspection Reports and Offences Reports online.
- The Halton Region Health Department also provides the general public with a way to formally provide concerns if they feel that they were sickened by the food they were served or have concerns about cleanliness. All complaints and suspected cases of food poisoning are investigated within 24 hours.
- On a 24/7 basis, the Halton Region Health Department is also available to receive reports of and respond to suspected and confirmed food-borne illnesses or outbreaks; unsafe food-handling practices, food recalls, adulteration, and consumer complaints; and food-related issues arising from floods, fires, power outages, or other situations that may affect food safety.
Together, we can ensure that Halton Region remains a great place live, work, raise a family and retire. To contact the Halton Region Health Department, or to obtain further information about the Food Safety Program, dial 311.
As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”