Foodborne Illness in Canada
Each year, there are four million Canadians that affected by foodborne illness. Foodborne illness is not just one disease, it’s a category for different disease caused by ingesting contaminated food. Contaminants that typically end up on food are pathogenic microorganisms and chemical substances. Through safe food handling, this can be avoided, or at least, the risk for contamination be reduced.
Canada has several legislations that govern food safety, specifically food facilities that handle food. It can be a manufacturing facility or a restaurant – anywhere that food is made, sold, served, and stored, with or without charging for it. The presence of a trained and certified food service worker is required from medium and high-risk facilities. That certified worker should present at all times in facility, meaning there has to be at least one for every shift.
Food Handler Training Levels
Hamilton First Aid has two food handler training courses available, belonging to different levels. The first level of food handler training is a basic course open to anyone interested in learning food safety. The second level is an advanced program for level one certificate holders.
Food Handler Level 1 is an eight-hour classroom program that introduces basic concepts of safe food handling to trainees. The safe food handling curriculum involves topics such as sanitation, proper cooking and storage, and personal hygiene. Though level one training is open to everyone, it was initially targeted towards frontline food service workers (direct food handlers).
Food Handler Level 2 is a twelve-hour classroom program that focuses on topics on how to run a food business. It targets food business owners and members of the staff with managerial responsibilities. Because this is an advanced program, trainees can only apply to it if they are certified for Food Handler Level 1.
Both levels are certification programs. You need to get an 80 percent or better to get certified. Food Handler certificates are only valid for five years, meaning trainees need to take refresher courses. Food Handler refresher courses are also available at Hamilton First Aid.
How To Recognize Foodborne Illness
Diseases that are categorized as a foodborne illness have very similar symptoms, which is why they are difficult to diagnose without a blood test. Signs and symptoms of foodborne illness include most if not all of the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Abdominal cramps and/or pain
The danger that comes with these symptoms is a high risk for dehydration. Diarrheal complications kill more than two million people yearly all over the world. Foodborne illnesses usually resolve in a few days, but severe vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration without adequate fluid replacement. If you have eaten something within the past six hours and feel the onset of the symptoms above, remember to drink lots of fluid. If your stomach is still update, eat a bland diet – meaning food that isn’t too spicy or sour which can worsen your stomach’s condition. Avoid dairy as well, if possible.
Hamilton First Aid offices are open from 8 AM to 5 PM. Visit us if you want a tour or an introduction to the Food Handler Certification Courses available.