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Feds, provinces need to better co-ordinate efforts on food-borne outbreaks: report

Ontario’s top medical official says several steps are needed to strengthen Ontario’s, and Canada’s, ability to respond quickly and effectively

TORONTO — Ontario’s top medical official says Ottawa and the provinces need to better co-ordinate the handling of food-borne disease outbreaks like last summer’s deadly listeriosis crisis that killed 21 people.

Dr. David Williams, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says outbreaks involving more than one jurisdiction are complex to investigate.

In a report released today in Toronto, Williams says several steps are needed to strengthen Ontario’s, and Canada’s, ability to respond quickly and effectively.

Among those steps, Williams says there should be a plan to increase the capacity of public-health laboratories to conduct a wider range of tests for food-borne organisms that could threaten consumers’ health.

Williams also says the public-health system must have enough skilled staff and other resources to investigate any signs of a possible outbreak.

Twenty one people across Canada died after eating Maple Leaf deli meats contaminated with Listeria — products that were traced back to a Toronto processing plant.

 
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