Food Safety Magazine

News | February 7, 2014

Canada Debuts Online Tool to Help Processors Prevent Foodborne Illness

By Heidi Parsons

Canada Debuts Online Tool to Help Processors Prevent Foodborne Illness


Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Minister of Health and the head of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), today announced the launch of a searchable database to help the food industry identify and address food safety hazards. The online database, known as the Reference Database for Hazard Identification (RDHI), provides a vital resource to assist the food industry in developing preventive food safety control plans.

Food industry personnel can search the tool for food and foodborne hazards in production and processing to help guide them development of their food safety plans. Searchable subsections include Product Ingredients and Incoming Materials, Processing Steps, Plant Layout (Cross Contamination Zone), Biological Hazards, Chemical Hazards, Physical Hazards, References and the Search page.

In unveiling the new tool, Ambrose remarked, “Through the Healthy and Safe Food for Canadians Framework, the Government of Canada continues to take action to strengthen Canada's world-class food safety system. The launch of the database demonstrates our commitment to help industry keep pace with the evolving food safety environment and implement the best approaches to protect consumers.”

Susan Abel, vice president of safety and compliance with Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC, the country’s largest food industry association), said food manufacturers welcome the new database. “It is this kind of modernization and innovation at CFIA that directly supports the development of enhanced food safety programs for manufacturers here in Canada. There has been significant progress in recent years toward modernizing tools such as this, as well as the regulatory process,” she said, adding, “We look forward to continuing our work with the government to build on those accomplishments and uphold Canada's world-renowned safety standards.”

Martine Dubuc, Canada’s Chief Food Safety Officer and vice president of science for the CFIA, said her agency “works closely with industry to promote compliance by making sure that [food processors and producers] are aware of their requirements under the law.” Ultimately, she added, consumers benefit from a safer food supply.