Fermented food safety guidance for Canadian Public Health Inspectors
Public Health Ontario
British Columbia Centre for Disease Control
Ministry of Health in Saskatchewan
Fermented foods are growing in popularity. These foods often have ethnic roots, traditional recipes and techniques, using wild (natural) cultures of microbes to ferment and transform the foods, but are they safe? Public health inspectors and food safety specialists who have responsibility to approve production of foods, can find fermented foods challenging. In 2018, a national fermented foods working group (NFFWG) formed to discuss food safety questions. In late 2021, following a hiatus during the pandemic, NFFWG members renewed efforts to create food safe guidance for more than 15 fermented foods. The NFFWG is a sub-committee of the FPT-Food Safety Committee, with members representing every province in Canada.
This presentation will describe food safety controls necessary to make fermented foods safely. Fermentation microbial culture terms and health issues linked to fermented foods will be reviewed. Outbreaks and illnesses linked to fermented foods will be discussed in the context of process failures (for example, why some nut cheeses have caused Salmonella illnesses). We will conclude the presentation by reviewing one fermented food example to illustrate safety concerns during production.