Summer CSANews Issue 67  |  Posted date : Jul 22, 2008.Back to list

Part of Canada’s Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan

The government of Canada has launched a website aimed at providing Canadians with access to the latest health-related promotional campaigns. The website, a joint initiative led by Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, details food and consumer product safety information, as well as general information about staying healthy and fit. This is the latest effort made by the government as part of the prime minister's proposed action plan to “modernize and strengthen Canada’s safety system for food, health and consumer products and to better support the collective responsibilities that government, industry and consumers have for product safety.”

It may all sound a bit daunting, but the website itself is easy to read and quite useful for providing access to tools and resources, such as listings of the latest food and consumer product recalls. You can view the latest food and consumer product recalls by clicking on the “Food and Consumer Product Safety” option in the left-hand menu bar, under “Topics.” Under each recalled product, you will find specific details about that product, such as description, identified hazard, corrective action, numbers and time period sold, importer, distributor and image (if available).

The website also provides access to federal government initiatives regarding health and safety, including the proposed Food and Safety Action Plan, or you can download the detailed version to PDF. You can also review current regulations, such as Bill C-51 and the regulation of natural health products.
On the home page, there are some interesting and informative resources designed specifically to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here is what you will find:

Healthy Canadian e-Newsletter
This is a quarterly communiqué from the federal Health Minister Tony Clement.  It discusses current areas of concern and the issues that drive our federal government when making decisions that affect the policies which they draft to make Canada a healthy and safe country in which to live. More importantly, it shares some insight on what we can do to make our lives and our children's lives healthier on our own.

Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods Booklet
This booklet lists the nutrient value of 1,000 commonly consumed foods. You can read the booklet online, download it to PDF or order a hard copy by calling Publications, Health Canada. The booklet is divided into sections, with each section pertaining to certain types of food. Be sure to read the list of nutrients, units of measure and abbreviations before heading on to the main sections. There is also an FAQ section which includes answers to questions such as, “How were the foods chosen for the booklet?” and “Who do I contact if I have questions?”

Canada’s Food Guide
Canada’s Food Guide was first published in July of 1942. It has changed many times throughout the years, but the mandate remains the same – to guide food selection and to promote the nutritional health of Canadians. If you click on the “Interactive Tools” option (left-hand menu bar, under “Helpful Resources”), you can take a guided tour of the food guide. You can also read the booklet online, download it to PDF or order a hard copy by calling Publications, Health Canada.

Interactive Tools
You can access several interactive tools by clicking on the “Interactive Tools” option in the left-hand menu bar, under “Helpful Resources.” Some of the tools include the following:

Body Mass Calculator: enter your height and weight to determine your body mass index (BMI). Remember that a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is ideal.

Smoking cost calculator: if you’re a smoker, use this calculator to determine how much money you’ve spent on cigarettes since you started the “habit.” The figures are astonishing!

Interactive nutrition label and quiz: educate yourself about reading a food label correctly, and then test your knowledge by taking the nutrition label quiz.

My Food Guide: create your own customized food guide by entering your age, sex and various items from the four food groups. You will be given examples and recommended serving sizes to help you select your daily “menu.” Once you are done, you can save your personalized food guide to PDF by following the on-screen instructions.

Nutrition labelling became mandatory for all prepackaged foods on December 12, 2007. Some foods and beverages are exempt from labelling regulations, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, raw meat and poultry (except ground meat), raw fish and seafood, foods containing very few nutrients (such as coffee, tea and spices) and alcoholic beverages.

Public health experts estimate that there are 11 to 13 million cases of foodborne illness in Canada every year.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) enforces Canada’s labelling laws and works with associations, distributors, food manufacturers and importers to ensure complete and appropriate labelling of all foods.

You can subscribe to receive food recall/allergy alert notifications and consumer product safety news via e-mail. Simply select the “Food and Consumer Product Safety” option on the left-hand menu (under “Topics”) of the www.healthycanadians.ca home page. On the “Food and Consumer Product Safety” page, navigate to the right-hand menu bar, under “Tools,” and select “Subscribe to Consumer Product Safety News” and/or “Subscribe to E-mail Notifications on Food Recalls.”