It’s important for consumers to report food safety concerns and violations. This helps provincial health units respond quickly and effectively to urgent concerns or violations before they can affect large groups of people.
Reporting concerns also allows restaurants and foodservice providers to identify employees who may require additional food safety training, or who may not be taking best practices seriously. In Canada, there are a variety of different ways to report your food safety concerns - it usually depends on which province or territory you reside in and what kind of establishment you’re filing a concern about.
Commonly reported food safety concerns and violations
Consumers are often encouraged to share their concerns with proper health authorities, especially when blatant hygiene and food handling violations are observed. Poor hygiene and improper food handling practices are a major health and safety risk to the public, greatly increasing the chances of spreading foodborne illness.
If you suspect that you’ve contracted a foodborne illness from a restaurant or foodservice establishment, it’s recommended that you report it to the authorities detailed below. Other observable violations such as poor hygiene displayed by food handlers, unsafe food handling techniques or practices, and unsanitary conditions in kitchens and public dining areas should be reported to health authorities.
Please Note:Any non-food safety complaints about the food or service in general should be saved for the restaurant, as these are not concerns that are overseen by health authorities.
Retail and grocery store food safety concerns
Canadian health authorities also have the ability to respond to retail and grocery food safety concerns, including pest sightings, improper food preparation and handling, poor hygiene or sanitation, and improper actions or behaviours by staff relating to the handling of food.
If you suspect that food you’ve purchased from a retail location has been mislabeled or is being misrepresented, or if a store is continuing to sell products that have been recalled, it’s recommended that you report these concerns directly to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Please Note:Complaints about the quality of food in grocery stores and retail locations should be directly at the store itself rather than health authorities.
Where to report food safety concerns in each province
Any good faith food safety concerns or violations you have should be reported to your provincial or territorial public health department, who will then take action to investigate your concern and rectify the situation wherever possible.
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