Foodborne disease is a major concern in Canada and represents a significant climate change-related threat to public health. Climate variables, including temperature and precipitation patterns, extreme weather events and ocean warming and acidification, are known to exert significant, complicated and interrelated effects along the entire length of the food chain. Foodborne diseases are caused by a range of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, and the prevalence of these diseases is modified by climate change through alterations in the abundance, growth, range and survival of many pathogens, as well as through alterations in human behaviours and in transmission factors such as wildlife vectors. As climate change continues and/or intensifies, it will increase the risk of an adverse effect on food safety in Canada ranging from increased public health burden to the emergence of risks not currently seen in our food chain. Clinical and public health practitioners need to be aware of the existing and emerging risks to respond accordingly.
Keywords: Canada; climate change; food safety; foodborne disease.