One in six Torontonians — 437,000 each year — is sickened by food laced with bacteria, such as salmonella and listeria, according to a groundbreaking study of food-borne illness in the city.
The results, triggered by weaknesses in the country’s food safety system, represent about $500 million per year in health-care costs and lost productivity, says a Toronto Public Health report.
“This is a really important piece of work,” said John Filion, chair of the city’s board of health. “Everyone knows how important air quality and water quality are, but we don’t often think about the quality of food we put in our mouths.”
The Toronto Public Health study is the first to estimate the number of food-borne illnesses in the city, said Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s medical officer of health.
Spokespeople for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Ontario Ministry of Health said they were reviewing the recommendations from Toronto Public Health.