Outbreaks associated with widely-distributed food products can have important health and economic impacts in Canada. These outbreaks also affect the health of Canadians and may impact the public's confidence in the food safety system. One of the challenges facing the Public Health Agency of Canada (the Agency) in identifying the source of multi-jurisdictional outbreaks has been the availability of food exposure data for the general Canadian population. Similarly, limited food exposure data has impacted the Agency's ability to evaluate risks associated with enteric illness.
To date, foodborne illness outbreak investigators have relied on outdated food exposure data that are not entirely representative of the current Canadian population. In recognizing these challenges, the Agency recommended that a Canadian-specific, consecutive-day food consumption study be conducted to enhance the Agency's ability to investigate and respond to foodborne illness outbreaks across all government levels.
Foodbook is a population-based telephone survey that was conducted in all Canadian provinces and territories over a one-year period with a primary focus on describing what foods Canadians eat over a seven-day period to inform outbreak investigation and response in Canada. The data generated from this study will enhance Canadian public health capacity to take timely and appropriate action in response to foodborne illness outbreaks and will reduce the impact of these events on the health of Canadians.
The Foodbook Report summarizes the food, water and animal exposure information collected during the survey. Foodbook data will be used across federal, provincial and territorial (F/P/T) public health and food safety partners to: inform timely and effective response to foodborne illness outbreaks; determine sources of enteric illness which will support risk assessments and public health interventions to prevent illness; and assist in examining relationships between eating patterns, obesity and socioeconomic status.
The Foodbook study addresses large data gaps that existed for Canadian food, water and animal exposure data for foodborne illness outbreak response investigations. These data are available to F/P/T stakeholders who work together to investigate, control, prevent and understand enteric illness in Canada.