Canadian Press reports Doug Currie says the need for an updated act, which recently passed second reading in the provincial legislature, was heightened by two high-profile cases of food-borne illnesses.
But he says planning started in 2008, when the department began looking at public health legislation in other Canadian provinces.
“There’s been chronic non-compliance under the old act. We had legislation, but there wasn’t a thrust to be able to use the act to allow owners and operators to comply with the … legislation.”
In May, health officials determined more than 200 cases of food-borne illness resulted from a fundraising supper at a local church.
The likely cause was a toxin found in cooked beef that was not stored at the proper temperature.
Following that case, food service at the Stanhope Beach Resort was halted after more than 100 people contracted norovirus from contaminated food or water.
Currie said those were prime examples of what can happen when food isn’t handled properly, something the new act will hope to address.
That’s a lot of sick people for a population of 140,000.