Categories of Hazards


On January 15, 2019, the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) will come into effect.

Read the full disclaimer
  • Certain requirements for some foods or businesses will not apply on this date. Learn more about timelines.
  • If there are inconsistencies between the information found here and a related regulatory requirement, the requirement is what will apply to businesses. Please let us know if you find any such inconsistency by commenting on the resources.
  • Until January 15, 2019 current information and requirements (that will be replaced by the SFCA and SFCR) continue to apply.

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Infographic: How to Keep Food Safe: Categories of Hazards. Description follows.

Keeping food safe

The following are considered to be international best practices to identify food hazards. A hazard is anything present in food with the potential to harm someone, either by causing illness or injury.

Biological Hazards:

Bacteria, viruses, or parasites that could cause foodborne illness

Watch out for:

  • Staff with poor hygiene or food handling techniques
  • Bacteria commonly found in food
  • Storing or preparing food at a temperature that allows bacteria to grow
  • Ingredients that have spoiled

Protect your food by:

  • Rotating stock
  • Storing and preparing food at proper temperatures
  • Practicing good hygiene in your facilities

Chemical Hazards:

Anything that could introduce an unwanted chemical into your food

Watch out for:

  • Food in contact with cleaning chemicals
  • Unintentional contact with common food allergens, such as peanuts or seafood
  • Improper use of food additives during preparation

Protect your food by:

  • Labelling and storing chemicals separately from food
  • Using correct cleaning and preparation procedures

Physical Hazards:

Unintentional or dangerous materials that could end up in your food

Watch out for:

  • Personal objects, such as jewelry, that may fall into the food
  • Materials that do not belong in some food, such as bone chips, leaves, shells and pits

Protect your food by:

  • Conducting regular visual inspections
  • Following appropriate procedures in your facility

By preventing food safety hazards, you:

  • Reduce the likelihood of foodborne illness and recalls
  • Protect your business and reputation

Did you know?

Food can become contaminated during growing, harvesting, processing, shipping, storing or handling.

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