Food-borne illnesses are preventable. Food safety is a real concern not only here in the North but throughout BC, across the country, and indeed, around the world. Although there has been no single event to trigger a specific food safety program in Northern BC, periodic outbreaks virtually everywhere (including many rural Northern towns) are proof that surveillance of food sources is a growing issue for us all.
Public health officials know of examples in the North, throughout BC, across Canada, and around the world. These could be caused by anything from a food handler with an infectious disease spreading it by accident, to some cooks mistakenly using bacteria-laden juices to add flavor to a roast beef dinner.
Health Canada estimates that there are 11 to 13 million cases of foodborne illness in Canada every year. But public health experts also estimate that only about one in five people seek medical attention when they suspect they’re suffering from such an illness, and of those only a small percentage have samples collected to confirm the presence of an enteric pathogen.
When community food events are open to everyone, we are all held to a higher standard and therefore, food permits may be required. In most cases, only a few such events take place each year, and a Temporary Permit for each event would be provided at no cost to your organization.
The permitting process enables an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to meet with event organizers, review food handling procedures and requirements, and provide information and assistance as needed. We know that your selected chefs are conscientious and committed to doing their best, but cooking for a large function is very different from cooking for a family.