Food Safety News

P.E.I. responds to recent food-borne illnesses Provided by The Canadian Press

Campus Administrator
P.E.I. responds to recent food-borne illnesses Provided by The Canadian Press
by Campus Administrator - Friday, 23 November 2012, 10:09 AM

By Canadian Press | Nov 21, 2012 9:33 pm | 0 Comments

CHARLOTTETOWN – P.E.I.’s health minister says the province’s new Public Health Act aims to cure what he calls “chronic non-compliance” among those who prepare and serve food to the public.

Doug Currie says the need for an updated act, which recently passed second reading in the provincial legislature, was heightened by two high-profile cases of food-borne illnesses.

But he says planning started in 2008, when the department began looking at public health legislation in other Canadian provinces.

“We took it upon ourselves to look at what was going on with trends and best practices in legislation across the country,” said Currie.

“There’s been chronic non-compliance under the old act. We had legislation, but there wasn’t a thrust to be able to use the act to allow owners and operators to comply with the … legislation.”

In May, health officials determined more than 200 cases of food-borne illness resulted from a fundraising supper at a local church.

The likely cause was a toxin found in cooked beef that was not stored at the proper temperature.

Following that case, food service at the Stanhope Beach Resort was halted after more than 100 people contracted norovirus from contaminated food or water.

Currie said those were prime examples of what can happen when food isn’t handled properly, something the new act will hope to address.

“This act is a modern act which gets us in line with all the other provinces in Canada in respect to the preparation and handling of food and the prevention of food-borne illness in facilities across Prince Edward Island,” he said.

If it’s proclaimed, which is expected early in the new year, the new act sets out a fine structure of $1,000 for the first violation.

A third offence carries a maximum penalty of $10,000, a six-month jail term or both.

Violations under the old act carried only the latter penalty, meaning it may have been rarely enforced.