Top 5 Food Safety Stories of 2019

From class-action lawsuits to indestructible cockroaches, here are the top food safety stories of 2019.
December 19, 2019

There’s always something going on in the world of food safety, and 2019 was no exception.

With events such as deadly food poisoning outbreaks; precedent-setting court cases; and sobering new studies from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Purdue University, there were plenty of options to choose from. 

The top 5 events in food safety in 2019 

submarine sandwich

1. Class-action lawsuit against Maple Leaf Foods heads to the highest court in Canada.

Hundreds of Mr. Sub franchisees are claiming damages incurred during the 2008 listeriosis outbreak that caused nearly two dozen deaths. Legal experts warn that the outcome of the case could have broad and significant implications for Canadian food processors and distributors.

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young boy with abdominal cramps food poisoning

2. 31 sick; 2 dead in Listeria outbreak in Canada, U.S.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) reveals a common source of infection in the multi-country outbreak that has sickened dozens of people and claimed two lives. Numerous product recalls have been issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

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cockroach floating in tomato soup

3. A new study reveals cockroaches are getting even harder to kill.

Researchers from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, found that cockroaches are developing rapid immunity to multiple classes of insecticides through a phenomenon known as “cross-resistance”. This spells bad news for the food and beverage industry — and anyone struggling to eradicate these disease-spreading pests.

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woman with basket of groceries

4. Climate change will mean more food-borne disease, warns PHAC.

An April 2019 report published by PHAC examines how increasing temperatures and precipitation, combined with an increasingly complex and interconnected food supply chain, will increase the burden of food-borne illness on the public health system and introduce previously unknown risks to the Canadian food supply chain.

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DNA double helix

5. How the CFIA uses DNA to fight food-borne illness.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) can now prevent food-borne illness outbreaks faster than ever with the help of whole genome sequencing (WGS), a process of decoding the genetic information of disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli 0157:H7.

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Other food safety events from 2019 include new food safety regulations; restaurant and other food business closures; and food poisoning outbreaks in Eastern Canada and the U.S.

Read all the food safety news from 2019 here.

The future of food safety in Canada

These stories demonstrate the very real consequences of non-compliance with food safety laws and regulations and for failing to handle food safely. They also highlight the challenges that exist and are likely to increase in the food supply chain.

A serious commitment from every corner of the food supply chain will be required to meet these challenges head on. This means:

  • strictly adhering to and continuously improving Food Safety Plans
  • staying up-to-date on industry news, changes to food safety laws and regulations and product recalls
  • investing in food safety training for everyone who handles food in your business or organization

About the Canadian Institute of Food Safety

At the Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS), our mission is to decrease food-borne illness in Canada by educating, advocating and promoting food safety.

We provide thousands of Canadian food workers, business owners and operators with the food safety training and resources they need to protect their customers and businesses from serious incidents like food poisoning and anaphylaxis.

To learn more, contact the Canadian Institute of Food Safety.