January 16, 2008
Media Release

Up to 13 million cases of food poisoning in Canada each year


York Region raising awareness during National Environmental Public Health Week
NEWMARKET – York Region public health inspectors are involved in a variety of education and enforcement initiatives that strive to protect the health and safety of local residents. 
 
York Region public health inspectors are responsible for routinely inspecting all York Region food premises on a regular basis to ensure compliance with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Health Promotion and Protection Act (HPPA).  This legislation applies to all public restaurants, cafeterias and other premises that prepare or sell food.
 
Public health inspectors also assist in monitoring and identifying factors that impact water quality to ensure that drinking water is safe.  Strict provincial regulations and standards are in place to ensure drinking water is safe for consumption.
 
York Region public health inspectors offer the community the following tips to prevent food and
water-borne illnesses caused in the home:
 
• Wash your hands thoroughly with liquid soap and warm water prior to preparing, handling, serving and eating food
• Keep hazardous food products (meat, dairy, etc.) below 4°C/40°F and above 60°C/140°F to prevent the growth of harmful micro-organisms and bacteria
• Use a clean probe thermometer to ensure that food has reached the proper internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria
• Avoid cross-contamination of products; keep and store raw meats, poultry and seafood separate from ready-to-eat food
• Serve food immediately after preparation;  Discard any food that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours
• Test private well water three times a year; in the spring, summer and fall; if you have had recent work done to the well; or if you notice a change in the colour or odour of the water 
• There is no cost to have private well water tested
• Read labels for expiry and best before dates;  Do not eat food that has passed its expiry date
• Always use clean dishes and utensils when preparing, handling, serving and eating food
• Never buy dented or bloated canned goods
 
Each year, the third week in January is designated as National Environmental Public Health Week.  York Region joins communities across Canada in recognizing and celebrating the services provided by public health inspectors during this week.
 
The 2008 National Environmental Public Health Week theme is “The Changing Face of Environmental Health Inspection – Past Present and Future.”  This theme reflects the rapidly changing and expanding profession of public health inspection.
 
The responsibilities of public health inspectors have evolved over the years and will continue to expand as the field of public health changes.  From collaborating with government agencies to investigate uninspected and ungraded food products, to promotion of clean air initiatives, the ability of public health inspectors to adapt and accept new challenges in the field of public health is invaluable for York Region and our residents. 
 
During National Environmental Public Health Week, additional public service announcements will be circulated to the media highlighting more of the important work York Region public health inspectors do to help keep residents healthy and safe.
 
For more information on this or any other health-related topic, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1 800 361-5653.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York and our services, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-2717
 Email:  Jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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