Data on foodborne disease in Canada in 1976 were compared with data for 1975. A total of 858 incidents, comprising 752 outbreaks and 106 single cases, causing illness in 5367 persons were reported for 1976. The number of outbreaks increased by 5.9% over those for 1975, but the total number of cases decreased by 24.5%. As for previous years, Staphylococcus aureus was responsible for more incidents (27) than any other agent. Other incidents were caused by Salmonella spp. (25), Clostridium perfringens (19) suspect mold and yeast (17), Bacillus spp. (10), Clostridium botulinum (4) and suspect Pseudomonas aeruginosa (4). Seven incidents of trichinosis occurred. Chemicals implicated in causing illness included metals, rancid compounds, a pesticide and solvents. The deaths of five persons were attributed to foodborne disease. About 35% of incidents and 41% of cases were associated with meat and poultry. Bakery products, vegetables, fruits and Chinese food continued to play a prominent role in the spread of foodborne disease, as in previous years. Mishandling of food took place mainly in foodservice establishments (18.9% of incidents, 52.7% of cases) or homes (10.5% of incidents, 6.8% of cases). However, mishandling by the manufacturer caused some problems, including three separate incidents involving fermented sausages. More than 60% of reported foodborne disease incidents occurred in Ontario and the number of incidents per 100,000 population was highest in Ontario and British Columbia. Narrative reports of foodborne outbreaks are presented. Relatively few illnesses resulted from consumption of, or contact with, water; a total of 9 incidents and 1476 cases occurred from ingestion of water and a further three incidents were recorded as a result of penetration of the skin by swimmers' itch parasite (many hundreds of cases) and invasion of wounds in swimmers by Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

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