Food Safety & Security

On this page, read about food safety (making sure our food is safe to eat), and food security (working toward a food supply that is stable and sustainable) in British Columbia.

Food Safety

Food safety – making sure our food is safe to eat – is important to all of us. One in eight British Columbians get a foodborne illness (“food poisoning”) every year.

Food-borne illness comes from eating food contaminated with bacteria, parasites, viruses, poisonous chemicals or toxins. Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever. Most people are sick for a few days then get better. Foodborne illness can also be life threatening, especially for children, pregnant women, the elderly and individuals with weak immune systems.

People may not realize they have a foodborne illness because they can get sick hours or even several days after eating contaminated food.

Most people are sick for a few days and then get better. However, food-borne illness can be life threatening for especially vulnerable people, such as children, pregnant women, the elderly and individuals with weak immune systems.

The Ministry of Health shares the responsibility for food safety in B.C. with the Ministry of Agriculture, BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), health authorities and Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Learn more about food safety in B.C.:

Food Security

Food security is the foundation for healthy eating and requires a food supply that is stable and sustainable.  A person is considered food secure if they can access with dignity, healthy food that is affordable, safe, culturally appropriate, and meets their nutritional needs and preferences.

Learn more about food security efforts in B.C.: