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All food businesses are responsible for the safety of the food they offer for sale. The Reference database for hazard identification (RDHI) is a reference tool that can help food businesses identify the food safety hazards associated with their food and operation.

It is important to consult other sources of hazard information, such as reference texts, scientific publications, reports on food safety related illness, recalls and complaints. Refer to Conducting a hazard analysis for additional guidance.

How to use the RDHI

1. Generate a list of associated hazards based on your ingredients, processing steps and cross-contamination areas:

  • From the left menu, select Product ingredients and incoming materials.
  • Select Continue (top or the bottom of the page) to display the list of inputs.
  • To narrow down this list, select the appropriate Category and refresh the list.
  • Click on the inputs that are used in your operation, then select Next.
  • Click on the processing steps used in your operation, then select Next.
  • Click on the cross-contamination areas in your establishment layout, then select Associated Hazards.
  • View or print the resulting hazard summary.

Note that your selections are not saved once you leave this function.

2. Find hazard information related to your search terms:

  • From the left menu, select Search RDHI and enter your search term.
  • Select one or more sections to filter the search results, then select Search. The resulting table is organized by category and provides hyperlinks to the corresponding sections in the RDHI that contains the search term.

3. Find general information and references by hazard type:

  • From the left menu, select Biological hazards, Chemical hazards or Physical hazards.
  • Select Continue to find more details on specific hazards within a category.

4. Generate a list of references by category:

  • From the left menu, select References.
  • Click on a category, such as Acts and Regulations, then select Details.
  • View or print the list of associated references.

Other Information

The RDHI is periodically reviewed and updated to include the latest hazard information. If you find missing, inaccurate or incomplete information, contact us at

Document change log:

  • 2024-01-08: Added "Extruding" to "Processing Steps".
  • 2023-07-13: Added "Plant-based ingredients intended for powdered infant formula" to "Ingredients and Incoming Materials". Added 3 new cross-contamination hazards for high hygiene dry processing areas in "Establishment Layout".
  • 2023-03-06: Added "Reptile meat" to "Ingredients and Incoming Materials".
  • 2022-11-24: Added a virus hazard in crustaceans (e.g. shrimp, prawns) to "Fish - aquacultured" and "Fish - wild".
  • 2022-08-29: Added eggs (allergen) as a hazard for incoming poultry.
  • 2022-05-18: Added ethyl carbamate as a hazard in certain alcoholic beverages and for the process step "Fermenting / Culturing".
  • 2021-12-21: Added botulinum toxin as a hazard for uneviscerated fish under the process step "Curing".
  • 2020-09-16: Added "Ethanol in excess of 1.1% alcohol by volume (ABV) in non-alcoholic fermented beverages" to "Fermenting/Culturing" in "Processing Steps".
  • 2020-01-28: Added "Apricot kernels" to "Ingredients and Incoming Materials".

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