What is the Cost of Food Safety?

How much does E.coli 0157 cost Canada per year? A recent study on the long-term health costs associated with E.coli 0157 has estimated the cost of primary and secondary illnesses in Canada to be $240 million per year.

What is the Cost of Food Safety?

According to the model, 22,329 cases of primary VTEC infections occur in Canada annually, costing Canada $26.7 million in medical costs, lost productivity and premature death. The estimated annual medical cost of the long-term health outcomes attributed to E.coli 0157 infection is $213 million annually, making the combined total costs approximately $240 million per year.

While there are several measures that meat processors undertake to prevent E.coli 0157 from coming into contact with meat, Canada currently does not impose on-farm measures to prevent E.coli) 157 contamination of the environment which can lead to contamination of other foods including produce.

Fast Facts:

  • E.coli 0157 does not make cattle sick but a 2009 study found E.coli 0157 on 52% of the farms surveyed in Ontario, confirming that cows are still widely regarded as the primary source of this bacterium that is harmful to humans.
  • Approximately 100,000 case of human infection with the E.coli 0157 organism are reported each year in North America.
  • The Canadian government's approach to fighting E.coli 0157 focuses primarily on the meat processing stage but this policy approach to dealing with the problem does not address the source of the pathogen on the farm.
  • Canada is the only country in the world with a fully licensed vaccine to reduce shedding of E.coli 0157 by cattle.

E.coli 0157 - What changed 20 years after Jack in the box?

It's fair to say the the Jack in the Box case helped establish food safety as a serious public-health issue.

The CDC estimates that food borne disease causes about 48 million illnesses in the U.S. per year. Roughly one in six Americans get sick from bad food. Many of these cases are mild gastroenteritis, commonly referred to as the stomach bug. But too many food poisoning cases are more serious, resulting in approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually. The fatalities are often among children and the elderly.

Besides the obvious human toll, there's an economic side to this. Food borne illness in the United States costs about $152 billion a year. That's the sum of medical expenses, insurance costs and lost wages. It's a staggering number. But it's not surprising given the number of major outbreaks in recent years. In 2010, more than half a billion eggs were recalled after nearly two thousand people became ill with Salmonella poisoning. A year before that, nine people died in a Salmonella outbreak linked to a peanut-manufacturing plant. Hundreds of food products from breakfast cereal to energy bars had to be recalled, costing food manufactures over a billion dollars.

E.coli 0157:H7 is often more deadly than Salmonella. Although beef remains the most common vector of E.coli poisoning, the list of other foods responsible for major E.coli outbreaks is bewildering: spinach, unpasteurized apple juice, peppers, bagged lettuce, sprouts, raw milk, cilantro and cheese, to name just a few E.coli even found its way into raw cookie dough in 2009.

Meanwhile, six new strains of E.coli - known as non-0157s - have surfaced. The CDC estimates that these strains poison 37,000 people each year and kill nearly thirty.

Tips for cleaning and sanitizing food surfaces

Tips for sanitizing food surfaces

There is no replacement for a first impression. From the moment a customer walks through your front door, they are looking for your establishment to provide ambience, quality food and a clean environment. Placing a high priority on food safety is one of the best ways to protect your customers, employees and business reputation.

No cleaning task in your establishment is as important as the proper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces. These surfaces may include prep tables, utensils, dishes, cutting boards and processing equipment. Even the interior of a microwave oven is considered a food contact surface because food on the sides or ceiling of the oven could drip onto other foods being warmed, causing what is referred to as "cross contamination."

How to reduce the risk of cross-contamination

  • Follow provincial and local health department guidelines.
  • Follow equipment and manufacturer's instructions regarding proper use of sanitizers.
  • Follow chemical manufacturer's instructions regarding proper chemical use directions, dilution rates and safe handling directions for dish detergent and sanitizer.
  • Wash, rinse, and sanitize food-contact surfaces before each use.
  • Always refer the (WHMIS) Workplace Materials Information System provided by the chemical manufactures if you have questions about the use of specific chemicals.

Sanitizing and cleaning:

  • Each time there is a change in processing between different types of animal products.
  • Each time there is a change from raw to ready-to-eat foods.
  • After surface contact with any major food allergen.
  • At least ever four hours on equipment and utensils used at room temperature.
  • Throughout the day as necessary.
  • After final use each working day.

Tips for cleaning and sanitizing food surfaces

Cleaning tips

Best practice for handling and using sanitizer:

  • Handling and using sanitizers can be dangerous if not done properly. Follow these guidelines can help you and your staff avoid the risks.
  • Never mix detergent and a chemical sanitizer.
  • When testing mixed sanitizer solution, always ensure the solution is at room temperature (24 degrees C) to receive an accurate reading from test strips.
  • Use a clean towel to apply sanitizer onto surfaces.

100 - 7240 Johnstone Drive | Red Deer, AB T4P 3Y6 | reception@nossack.com | Tel: 403-346-5006 | Fax: 403-343-8066


100 - 7240 Johnstone Drive
Red Deer, AB T4P 3Y6


Tel: 403-346-5006

Fax: 403-343-8066