Nutrition & Food Safety

Families Canada is a critical channel for food safety knowledge among newcomers. For research reports, resources for newcomers, and more on food safety, visit our resources and publication page.

Why is food safety knowledge important?

Unfortunately, lack of understanding or awareness regarding recommended handling and preparation instructions, food allergens, and other aspects of food safety, can prevent immigrant parents from taking preventative safety measures while managing nutrition on behalf of their families. In fact, the literature suggests that immigrants are often in superior health relative to the native-born population when they first arrive in a new country, but lose this health advantage over time due to changes in determinants of health such as diet. Unhealthy dietary changes have been observed in young immigrants and concern has been expressed that dietary changes in adolescence may persist into adulthood, which would have far reaching implications for long-term health.

While excellent resources are available to Canadians regarding food safety (for instance, food handling and preparation guidelines, and allergen labelling), many of these resources are inaccessible to new immigrants who may not have the required language or literacy skills to understand them. There is a need to provide additional support to these new immigrant families and reduce barriers that may prevent them from accessing, decoding and operationalizing food safety and nutritional information.

What we’re doing

Families Canada works to address the gap in food safety information and communication that exists for new immigrants who may conceptualize food choices and processing, food preparation and handling, and food preservation in very different ways.

Promoting Health and Inclusion of Senior Newcomers Through Food

Through the Promoting Health and Inclusion of Senior Newcomers Through Food project, funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, Families Canada will support the healthy aging and inclusion of senior newcomers in Ottawa. By holding community consultations and a workshop, Families Canada will identify and address challenges newcomer seniors face when attempting to access services, resources and information related to food safety.  

The project will produce a positive overall impact on community health and the well-being of senior newcomers by improving access to safe and appropriate food. Due to the relative lack of information about food safety challenges faced by this demographic, we are engaging senior newcomers to help find solutions. Through their active participation, this project will deliver informed and relevant resources to community centres that support newcomer seniors and benefit communities across Ontario. 

Our research reports and multilingual resources are available in the resources and publications section of our website.

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